U.S., Pa. team up for $7.5 million summer jobs program for youth

 Nasir Mack, 16, has gotten a government-funded summer job for students. He was  recognized at a program announcing additional funding for the summer of 2015. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Nasir Mack, 16, has gotten a government-funded summer job for students. He was recognized at a program announcing additional funding for the summer of 2015. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Summer vacation has already started for many teens across Pennsylvania, but legislators are hoping to put them to work soon.

Officials from the Wolf administration visited Philadelphia Friday to announce a $7.5 million program that’s expected to create 3,700 summer jobs statewide.

Several dozen youth advocates gathered at the Philadelphia Works office today to applaud Gov. Tom Wolf’s initiatives to help kids who want to work.

The federal and state programs focus on 12- to 24-year-olds in low-income neighborhoods, said Katie McGinty, Wolf’s chief of staff.

“We know that enabling kids to have a chance to learn workforce skills, to show and develop their own inner strengths, when we give them a chance to be off the street and be in the company of those who get up and work hard everyday, they are going to shine,” she said.

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State Sen. Vincent Hughes and other government officials honor Nasir Mack, 16, who received a job with the Community College of Philadelphia through past summer jobs funding. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

More than half the funding and two-thirds of the jobs are coming to Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, championed efforts to find additional funding for the summer jobs.

“We’re not just doing this for these young people to have this opportunity,” he said. “We’re doing this so that, hopefully, when we get everything done in this budget cycle and do the work that has to be done, we can double the amount of young people that we can provide an opportunity for.”

More than $4 million in funding and 2,500 new jobs are planned for Philadelphia, Hughes said.

Two pilot programs in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will receive federal dollars as part of President Obama’s summer jobs initiative. The program in Philadelphia, coordinated through WorkReady Philadelphia, will receive $2.5 million and create 1,400 new summer positions.

State money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will be funneled into existing efforts through local Workforce Investment Boards. More than 1,000 new jobs are planned.

Wolf expects to continue creating new summer youth jobs, budgeting at least $5 million to do so.

Meanwhile, other state agencies — including PennDOT, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources — have created several thousand new summer positions.

Young people who are interested in one of the work opportunities or internships can apply online

 

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