View The YouTube Video
Mayor Richard M. Daley said today the City will receive $11.1 million in federal economic stimulus funds it had not been counting on and that the funding will support an additional 2,300 employment opportunities for low income young people aged 16 to 24.
The young people to be placed in these jobs will come from a waiting list provided to the City by the State of Illinois of applicants who are eligible under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The City will add $500,000 from its parking meter Human Infrastructure Fund to support the summer jobs program further.
“One of the most important things we do in city government to keep our young people safe is to provide them with positive alternatives to hanging out in the streets when they’re not in school,” Daley said in a news conference held at Erie Neighborhood House, 1701 W. Superior St., where some of the summer jobs are located.
This summer, the City and its sister agencies, joined by community organizations and faith-based groups are providing about 250,000 opportunities to Chicago's young people in a wide range of areas, including education, sports and other activities.
This has included more than 15,000 full- and part-time employment opportunities in both the public and private sector for young people as part of the City’s “Youth Ready Chicago” program.
“Each opportunity gives young people a chance to gain marketable skills and makes it easier for them to make the transition from school into the workforce.
And in these tough economic times, a summer job for young people can help families make ends meet,” the Mayor said.
The 2,300 additional summer jobs is being administered by the City’s Department of Family and Support Services through a network of agency partners who will screen for eligibility and find age-appropriate jobs for the young people. Positions can include retail and clerical opportunities and many others.
The 2,300 jobs, which last for up to 10 weeks, begin throughout July. So far, about 420 young people have begun work under the program.
Daley said summer jobs are more than just a moneymaking opportunity for young people, they represent a critical investment in the future of the city.
Without the support of the federal government and the City’s private and non-profit partners, an entire generation of young people is at risk of being severely or even permanently disconnected from the labor market, he said. He thanked the State of Illinois for its role in making the federal money available to Chicago.
Daley again challenged the City’s business leaders to strengthen their efforts to provide jobs for young people, either by supporting City programs or by hiring young Chicagoans themselves.
The Mayor said summer employment programs build on the many other steps the City has taken recently to put young people on the right track and away from gangs in the first place and to better protect every student from violence at school and on the way to and from school.
These have included:
- Using $30 million in federal economic stimulus funds to reduce school violence and create “cultures of calm” in 38 high schools with high concentrations of students at-risk of being involved with violence.
- Deploying Police Department resources more strategically to troubled schools at dismissal times, and
Using $1 million in proceeds from the City’s parking meter lease agreement to fund hundreds of jobs and other after school opportunities for young people.
“If Chicago is to have a strong future, we cannot to tolerate the gang bangers and drug dealers who only want to terrorize our neighborhoods and kill our citizens,” Daley said.
“If we all accept our share of the responsibility, together we can keep our children and our neighborhoods safe this summer – and throughout the year,” he said.
# # #