Latvia offers youths summer work in homeland

Ethnic Latvian youth who want an opportunity to work this summer in the homeland have until June 30 to apply for positions through a government-coordinated program, the Ministry of Welfare has announced.

However, unlike last year’s pilot project that brought seven youths to work in Rīga, the government this year will not cover travel and living costs. Financial support for the program was slashed in a bout of budgetary belt-tightening earlier this year.

Youth ages 18-24 will be able to work from one to two months between June 1 and Aug. 31, the ministry announced in an April 22 press release. The State Employment Agency will find positions for the youths, while the Ministry of Education will help locate living quarters.

Depending on when they arrive in Latvia, those who participate in the program also will be able to attend “Tautiešu mēneša” events organized July 2-18 by the Secretariat for the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration Affairs as well as the Latvian Song and Dance Festival from July 5–12.

The application form, which must be submitted to the social integration affairs secretariat in Rīga, should be available from local Latvian organizations and from the secretariat’s Web site,

Last summer, seven ethnic Latvian youths from Canada, Russia, Sweden and the United States worked in private business and in the public sector. The pilot program, titled “Vēlies izaicinājumu?” (Want a Challenge?), was proposed by former Prime Minister Aigars Kalvītis. The program had sought 20 participants, but received limited response. The government has acknowledged that the lateness of publicizing the program was in part to blame.

The Latvian government is considering how to again finance the program for summer 2009, a Ministry of Welfare spokesperson told Latvians Online.

Youths meet with prime minister

Last year’s “Vēlies izaicinājumu?” participants meet Aug. 1 with then Prime Minister Aigars Kalvītis. From left to right, Aleksandrs Perevalovs of Russia, Lukass Milevskis of the United States, Jana Božko of Russia, Prime Minister Aigars Kalvītis, Laura Osvalde of the United States, Rūta Rietuma of Sweden, Dainis Simsons of Canada and Darja Berdņikova of Russia. (Photo courtesy of Aivars Osvalds)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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