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Funding bolstered for youth summer jobs program

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The City of Boston will add $4.1 million in funding to provide 8,000 youth jobs and engagement opportunities this summer.

Following months of planning to ensure the safety of all participants amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the Mayor's Youth Summer Jobs Program will continue this year, and will be bolstered by an additional $4.1 million in funding to support 8,000 youth ages 14-21 in obtaining summer jobs and engagement opportunities this summer. As the COVID-19 public health crisis remains, this year's programming has been adapted to meet the current and anticipated public health guidelines. 

"Boston's summer jobs program is one of the best opportunities for our youth to stay engaged in important life-building learning by giving them a chance to build their skills, gain confidence and have formative experiences in the workplace that we hope will make them excited for their future," said Mayor Walsh. "While this year's summer jobs program is different due to coronavirus, our dedication to providing these important opportunities is stronger than ever."

The Mayor's Summer Jobs Program works to empower youth by connecting them to jobs that provide mentorship and guidance, and promote skill building and networking opportunities that create lasting professional pathways to success. In recognizing the importance of keeping Boston's youth active and engaged through meaningful opportunities, the City of Boston partners with a host of private and nonprofit partners, including Action for Boston Community Development, the Boston Private Industry Council, John Hancock's MLK Scholars, Youth Options Unlimited, and others to make these summer opportunities available to Boston's youth.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on many private businesses, which has impacted their ability to host a youth summer job program, Mayor Walsh has committed to bolstering investments in the program by investing an additional $4.1 million, making the total funding for Youth Engagement and Employment $11.9 million. This additional funding comes at a time when other large cities have scaled back their summer jobs program, and will allow the City of Boston to have a more robust jobs program within city departments, expanding to new opportunities that previously had not been part of the program. As part of hiring and onboarding 8,000 youth in summer jobs, the City of Boston will coordinate personal protective equipment for all youth workers. 

In recognizing the need to engage youth in new ways this year amid COVID-19, the City of Boston has developed four tracks of opportunities for youth this year, including: 

  • Track 1: Boston's Blue Shirt Program ⁠— 500 youth interested in working outside on beautification projects at various locations managed by Parks and Public Works.
  • Track 2: Peer to Peer COVID-19 Campaign ⁠— 400 youth interested in graphic design, teamwork and public service to build an awareness campaign on COVID-19 safety and Census outreach.
  • Track 3: Virtual Options ⁠— 300 youth interested in remote work with virtual courses to help students learn various work skills
  • Track 4: Career and Post-Secondary Education Credential ⁠— Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Urban College of Boston and Roxbury Community College have offered credit bearing courses to 450 youth focusing on tech, business, and human services pathways. 

Under Mayor Walsh, Boston's youth engagement has been a critical part of efforts to provide young people with chances to build lifelong skills, confidence and personal success through youth workforce and engagement opportunities. Research shows that summer jobs programs lead to significant boosts in community engagement, social skills, job readiness skills, work habits, and college aspirations that are linked to the long-term improvements in crime, school, and employment outcomes. These positive impacts also appear to be greater for Black and Brown youth, based on the results from the City's multi-year evaluation effort on summer jobs in partnership with Northeastern University. 

In addition, summer jobs provide important income support for low-income youth and their families. In Boston, roughly half of youth participating in Boston's summer jobs indicate that they help pay one or more household bills and one in five report that they are saving for college tuition. Expanding summer jobs programs during COVID-19 can both provide income to those who most need it as a time when it's most needed. Every year, the City of Boston partners with hundreds of community-based nonprofit organizations to provide these opportunities, allowing participants to work in various positions, including: after-school program assistant, administrative assistant, mural painters, peer leaders, and more. 

Participants in Boston's Summer Jobs Program work a maximum of 25 hours per week for a six-week period from the beginning of July to mid-August and are paid the Massachusetts minimum wage of 12.75 per hour. Participants may be placed in a job with either a local community based organization or non-profit or a private sector employer. Any Boston youth between the ages of 14-21 are encouraged to apply for a job online.