Mayor Richard M. Daley said today the City and its public and private sector partners will provide more than 14,000 summer jobs for young people 14-24 this year, but he also urged every company in the city to hire young people this summer or contribute money to the City’s “Youth Ready Chicago” program.
“A summer job is one of the most important tools we have to give young people something much better to do than just hang around the streets in the summer. It keeps them out of harm’s way,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Av.
“Not only do they provide the work experience that may lead to a career, but in some cases these jobs will be needed to help families make ends meet during these very tough economic times,” he said.
Daley said the opportunities provided through “Youth Ready Chicago” include internships, apprenticeships and jobs in both the public and private sector. Public sector partners include After School Matters, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools the Chicago Housing Authority and City Colleges of Chicago.
Daley said there are several new or expanded programs this summer, including:
• A new Community Development Block Grant Apprenticeship program focusing on green industries. Three hundred young people will gain exposure to green jobs through career exploration activities and internships in the green industries.
• A new program for At-Risk Youth designed to provide year-round employment services, skill development and a paid work experience to 50 gang-affiliated or court involved young people who are either in school or not. $225,000 in re-programmed corporate funding is supporting this program.
• A new Youth Employment Program that will provide year-round, high quality paid work experience for 500 in-school and out-of-school youth ages 16 to 24. The program targets young people from Chicago communities with high levels of teen violence and low levels of economic opportunity. The program is funded with $1.5 million from the parking meter human infrastructure fund.
• In addition, the Chicago Housing Authority will add 370 opportunities to its “Learn & Earn” program for CHA residents ages 13 to 15.
Last year, “Youth Ready Chicago” was able to provide almost 20,000 summer opportunities, almost 8,000 of which were subsidized by the federal economic stimulus program.
Unfortunately, that money is not available this year, so the City is working harder than ever to fill the gap, the Mayor said.
Daley urged Congress to pass legislation now being considered in the U.S. Senate to add money for summer jobs for this year.
“Without continued federal investment, an entire generation of young people is at risk of being severely or even permanently disconnected from the labor market,” he said.
But, Daley said, government can’t do this alone.
“We have many partners in the private sector who are strongly committed to the Youth Ready Chicago program. But we all know that most jobs are in the private sector. So today I want to challenge our business leaders to strengthen their efforts to provide jobs for young people,” he said.
Daley said businesses can do this by supporting the City’s program or by hiring young people themselves.
“The bottom line is that we need everyone’s help to keep our kids occupied in a positive way this summer,” he said.
Young people can apply for a summer job by filling out the application at www. youthreadychicago.org. Businesses can also visit the web site to sponsor or learn about employing a young person for the summer.
The deadline for application is June 4.