The national £2billion initiative aims to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements to those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
Companies that wish to employ 30 or more young people through the scheme can apply directly to the Government, but firms looking to take on fewer must group together or have another organisation apply on their behalf.
To allow small and medium sized companies in the Tees Valley to access this support and create jobs, Mr Houchen has pledged to lodge an application on their behalf.
Organisations based in Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington that wish to take on a young person for six months should register their interest at www.teesvalleybusiness.com/kickstart-tees-valley
Young people looking for jobs through the scheme should do so through Jobcentre Plus.
Mr Houchen said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in our region to step-up and help create jobs and opportunities for young people as we bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences.
“It looks like young people will be one of the worst affected groups and we need to do everything in our power to make sure they aren’t left behind – that’s why I am urging local firms to take on up to 500 young people between them thanks to this new support available.”