City officials and WorkReady Philadelphia partners, representing City businesses and non-profit organizations, participated in a call with President Barack H. Obama and mayors from across the United States to highlight the importance of summer and year-round youth employment initiatives and urge businesses, non-profits and cities to invest in these initiatives.
In January, Mayor Michael A. Nutter and WorkReady Philadelphia announced the 10,000 Summer Jobs Challenge, a charge to the City to unite and create 10,000 enhanced WorkReady summer job opportunities for youth ages 14-21 in 2013.
“Summer jobs provide valuable experienceas for our young people and ensure the vitality of our local economy and a brighter future for the entire City of Philadelphia. I am asking local businesses, non-profits and individuals to take up the charge of investing in our youth through the 10,000 Summer Jobs Challenge,” said Mayor Nutter. “Our efforts for 2013 have helped us surpass last year’s number of youth internships but we still have work to do to reach our goal.”
At the time the Challenge was launched, WorkReady was projecting less than 5,000 summer internships. Last summer, WorkReady served more than 6,800 youth. Current and projected funding sources will allow the WorkReady system to provide more than 7,500 youth employment opportunities this year.
“Over the past three months, I have been overwhelmed by the diligent and impressive efforts of our city on behalf of young people. Throughout the past ten years of WorkReady summer programs, we have learned that summer jobs work best when local businesses work together on behalf of youth,” said Stacy E. Holland, President and CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network, which serves as the managing partner of WorkReady. “The next two months are critical as summer quickly approaches and many youth in Philadelphia are seeking employment.”
On the call, President Obama stressed the importance of engaging the business community throughout youth employment efforts. During summer 2012, 146 Philadelphia businesses financially supported more than 1,100 internships. However, there are more than 30,000 private sector businesses in the City of Philadelphia.
“Everyone in this city has a part in this Challenge,” said John McNeil, President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). “Since first participating in WorkReady seven years ago, we at CTCA have continued to increase the number of interns we hire in order to accommodate the needs of local youth. It’s a privilege to provide them with a platform to develop their work ready skills. And, the benefit is mutual— our organization reaps the rewards from having energetic, bright, young minds contribute to our daily work. As employers in Philadelphia, we all need to unite and participate in this valuable program and do our part to provide opportunities for all youth.”
For more information on the 10,000 Summer Job Challenge, log on to www.phillysummerjobs.org.