Mayor Richard M. Daley recently announced the City and its public and private sector partners will provide more than 14,000 summer jobs for young people 14-21 years old this year, and he also urged companies in the city to hire young people this summer or sponsor a youth employment opportunity through the City’s "Youth Ready Chicago" program.
"Young people are looking for ways to grow and be productive during the summer months, and a job provides an alternative to spending time in the streets. Jobs teach responsibility and keep our children out of harm’s way," Daley said in a news conference held at the Gads Hill Center, 2653 W. Ogden.
"Not only do summer jobs 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 and the Chicago Housing Authority.
Daley said there are several new programs this summer, which are partly funded by $1.6 million in parking meter infrastructure funds, including:
- New Museum Internship Program: Approximately 35 young people will secure internships at some of Chicago’s world-class museums and gain exposure to arts, science, history and more.
- Community-Based Employment Opportunities: The City of Chicago will issue an RFP encouraging community-based small businesses, not-for-profits and other to outline work opportunities that will provide employment to more than 700 youth. The RFP will be available beginning April 15 through the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.
- Summer Mini-Grants: The City’s Summer Mini-Grant program will provide young people with the chance to work on neighborhood-based projects, such as starting a community dance troupe or designing a website for a community organization.
Last year, "Youth Ready Chicago" was able to provide more than 18,000 summer opportunities.
Thousands of those opportunities were supported by $8.6 million in federal stimulus money which is no longer available.
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 3.