Summer jobs program seeking sponsors, employment for Phillly youth

Speaking at the podium is President and CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend. Seated

Speaking at the podium is President and CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend. Seated

Fundraising for Philadelphia’s WorkReady Summer Jobs Campaign 2016 is underway.  The citywide initiative, a partner of the Philadelphia Youth Network, is a workforce preparation program for the city’s younger generation.

Announcing the effort at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Monday, Mayor Jim Kenney joined Philadelphia Youth Network president and CEO Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend to ask the community to sponsor youth experiences or offer a job opportunity before April 30.

Spokeswoman for the organization Lauren MacBride said the most recent fundraising goal for the summer program is $10.5 million.

WorkReady has secured 4,210 job placements for the summer on its way to a goal of at least 10,000 experiences — last summer’s total — for participating teens.

“The first step … is make sure that, minimally, we could provide as many opportunities as we did last year,” Fulmore-Townsend said.

The cost of sponsorship through the WorkReady program is $1,800 for each participating youth worker. Along with the private corporations that provide job opportunities, the program relies on investments from community organizations, elected officials and private citizens, as well as government funds.

Kenney emphasized the importance of investing in the next generation of the Philadelphia workforce. His first summer job in Philadelphia, at his neighborhood recreation center, was the first step in his career in government, he said.

“Now I’m here as mayor, somewhat because of that summer job that I had, where I made that connection between an adult who knew someone else who knew someone else, that allowed me to reach my goals and meet my potential,” Kenney said.

Last year, the city donated $5 million to WorkReady’s summer campaign. Kenney set a goal Monday of reaching 16,000 summer job opportunities by 2020.

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