Mayor Emanuel Announces City's Largest Jobs Program Provided More Than 30,000 Youth Opportunities This Summer

August 12, 2016

August 12, 2016
Mayor’s Press Office


One Summer Chicago Youth Gained New Skills and Improved Communities across the City; Youth Work Totaled Record 3.5 Million Hours in 2016

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined youth and members of the community at a One Summer Chicago youth employment site to celebrate another successful year of the program, which employed more than 30,000 youth around the city with job and internship opportunities this summer. Since 2011, Mayor Emanuel has significantly expanded the summer program, more than doubling opportunities while diversifying work opportunities for youths around the city, with nearly 130,000 youth gaining valuable job training and work experience since the program began.

“The summer months are when our youth need us the most, which is why we now have the largest summer jobs program in Chicago’s history with opportunities for youth from every neighborhood,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Each year, we are committed to expanding our One Summer Chicago program that continues to open new doorways for our youth to build skills and learn the values that will help them to reach their full potential.” Each year, summer employment opportunities—ranging from infrastructure jobs and camp counselors, urban agriculture and outdoor forestry projects to bike repair and office and clerical work—grow and diversify to meet a strong demand by youth for these opportunities. The ability to continuously grow the program year over year is attributed to the strength of the public-private partnerships each year. 

A significant investment by Emerson Collective to expand the 2016 One Summer Chicago program created an additional 4,700 employment and internship opportunities via lead employers After School Matters, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Parks Department. The program further diversified this year with First Lady Amy Rule’s support in securing new employment partners this year, including the Chicago Cubs, Hyatt, Navy Pier, and Walgreens. These newfound investments brought the total private funding supporting the program this year to $17 million.

The Mayor’s Infrastructure Team, a subset of One Summer Chicago supported by City of Chicago departments, employed nearly 2,000 youth this summer. Together, these youth made a collective impact on their communities through the following accomplishments:

  • painted 5 murals;
  • painted 327 viaducts;
  •  mulched 3,528 trees;
  • collected 9,101 debris filled bags;
  • cleaned 786 mains, 793 lots and 6,470 parkways.

“The strength of our One Summer Chicago program is that year over year, our partners citywide come together to do what is best for our youth,” said Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “Not only have has the program given more than 30,000 youth an opportunity to earn and learn, but we hope that the opportunity to make an impact on their community will leave a lasting impression on our participants.”

To protect opportunities for youth in all communities, Mayor Emanuel restored 65 youth employment opportunities at a small business that had been closed earlier this year due to funding withheld by the state’s ongoing budget impasse. Bikes N’ Roses, which provides after-school and summer jobs for local high school students, reopened its Belmont Cragin location with assistance by the city, allowing the business to employ nearly 40 youth as part of the 2016 One Summer Chicago program. During the summer, youth repaired 195 bikes.

The site visited by Mayor Emanuel, DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler and members of the community today was new to One Summer Chicago this year, and exemplifies the unique opportunities that youth participants have to make an impact in their community under the program. At the Green LUNGS program in West Town, a group of 25 youth from around the city participated in the first-of-its-kind rooftop wheat-to-bread production, teaching youth an ancient form of using grain as a food and shelter resource. Their hard work this summer yielded more than 60 pounds of wheat grain from an urban farm and green roof, which was later provided to Baker Miller to be turned into flour, and will eventually incorporated into local baked goods.

"I never thought I’d be where I am today—in college and employed consistently for the past four years," said Ashton Moss, former One Summer Chicago participant. "One Summer Chicago was my first job, and now I’ve found myself mentoring other youth. Having the support of my own mentors through the program has helped me to give back as a mentor and leader to other youth, and to realize that I have endless possibilities."

As One Summer Chicago program continues to grow, a special subset called One Summer PLUS, designed for at-risk youth, also expanded this year to serve 4,000 youth this year, fulfilling a second-term goal by Mayor Emanuel. The Mayor launched the PLUS program in 2012 to connect youth at a higher risk for violence involvement with a summer job, a mentor, civic leadership training and social skill building.

According to a study by University of Chicago, One Summer Plus – a part of One Summer Chicago that also offers mentoring – reduced the likelihood that participants would be arrested for a violent crime by 43 percent. The program has grown from 700 in its first year through generous donations by partners, including those by Inner City Youth Empowerment, LLC, a private entity formed by Earvin Johnson and Mark and Kimbra Walter.

While this year’s program was the largest youth summer jobs program in the City’s history, approximately 81,000 applications were submitted this year, demonstrating the capacity to grow these critical opportunities to meet the demand by youth. Next year, Mayor Emanuel and the City will again call upon One Summer Chicago partners to expand on this year’s success and to create more opportunities for youth to thrive and develop new skills.



About One Summer Chicago:
DFSS leads One Summer Chicago in partnership with participating agencies including: Office of the City Treasurer, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Housing Authority, After School Matters, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Public Libraries, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chicago Public Libraries and Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities.

One Summer Chicago also receives support from private companies including: Chicago Community Trust, Citi Foundation, Civic Leadership Foundation., University of Chicago Crime Lab, JPMorgan Chase, TCF Bank, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, TraceRoute, MHA Labs, and Inner City Youth Empowerment, LLC, and the McCormick Foundation.

The Mayor created the Infrastructure Team by convening the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to teach youth leadership and other skillsets by involving them in work to beautify Chicago neighborhoods.

Mayors Office Official Press Release