This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Julie Mazziotta
Last summer, Mayor Nutter worked with employers in Philadelphia to create almost 7,000 jobs for youth in the city. This time around, he’s aiming higher, asking businesses to find 10,000 jobs for high school students.
In January, the mayor announced the 10,000 Summer Jobs Challenge, part of an ongoing collaboration with WorkReady, a career program run by the Philadelphia Youth Network.
The Mayor’s Office received close to 15,000 applications last summer for a limited number of spots, which forced them to turn down almost 8,000 applicants. This year, they hope to increase the number of students they can accept by getting more employers to join the Challenge.
WorkReady organizers are confident that they’ll reach their goal of 10,000 jobs before the program starts in July.
The youth unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is nearly 15 percent higher than the national adult unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mayor wants to change that statistic in Philadelphia by providing kids in the city with valuable job experience. Last year, students earned $5 million through WorkReady jobs, which the organization says goes right back into the local economy.
WorkReady wants to prepare students for their future careers and ensure that the youth unemployment rate today doesn’t follow students in their adult lives.
Julie Mazziotta is an intern at the Notebook.