April 23, 2009

Mayor Daley's Summer Program Will Offer 19,000 Jobs for Young People

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The City’s Youth Ready Chicago summer jobs program this year will provide summer employment for about 19,000 Chicago young people between the ages of 14-24, Mayor Richard M. Daley said today.

He reminded the young people and their parents that the deadline for applying for the jobs is May 29 and urged them not to miss it.

"This year, because of the nation's economic crisis, for some, these summer jobs are more important than ever. This year, having a summer job could make the difference between a family being able to pay their bills, or not," Daley said in a news conference held at Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago, 1939 W. 13th St.

The 19,000 summer jobs represent full and part-time positions with the City (2,000) and its sister agencies - the Chicago Park District (3,900), Chicago Public Schools (1,700) and After School Matters (4,300) - as well as with the City's private sector, not-for-profit and community organization partners.

In addition, this summer about 7,200 positions will be supported by $17 million in Workforce Investment Act funding from the federal economic stimulus legislation. That money is targeted to provide training opportunities to the city's young people who are most in need, including those who are homeless, pregnant or parenting and foster children.

The federal program also places a special emphasis on assisting veterans who may be struggling to find employment upon returning from military service.

The number of summer jobs this year is about 650 more than the City was able to offer last year, the Mayor said.

"It's a sign of how just tight the economy is because this summer we’re receiving federal money we didn't have last year to help provide summer jobs," he said.

Daley said that every year, the City receives more than 40,000 applications from young people looking for summer work – almost twice as many as the number of jobs usually available.

To be considered for employment, young people must fill out an application by May 29. The application form can be found at the Mayor Daley's Youth Ready Chicago website.

There are also opportunities for businesses to participate in the summer jobs program through the program's Corporate Initiative, Daley said.

Companies participating in the Corporate Initiative will be paired with a young person, age 16-24, who has been pre-screened based on employer criteria. Additionally, at no cost to the employer, young people will be instructed in proper workplace behavior and will be provided with ongoing mentoring.

"This is a great opportunity for businesses to help their city and to help themselves. Most jobs are in the private sector and today I also want to urge our business leaders to strengthen their efforts to provide jobs for young people," the Mayor said.

Companies unable to hire a summer worker can become a corporate sponsor of the City's program. A donation of $2,400 will support a summer job at a community-based organization that could not otherwise afford to hire someone.

"Summer jobs are a critical investment in the future of our city," Daley said.

"It's a short-term way to give many of our young people something much better to do than just hang out. It puts money in their pocket and keeps them out of harm's way. In the long term, we know that young people who are employed today are more likely to work next year, earn more and make an easier transition into the workplace after graduation from school," he said.