Mayor's SummerWorks program helps 1,500 youth find work - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mayor's SummerWorks program helps 1,500 youth find work

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mayor Greg Fischer says Louisville's business community has made the Mayor's SummerWorks Program a success for the third year by putting 1,500 young adults, ages 16-21, to work in summer jobs.

"The impact of a summer job on a young person goes way beyond a paycheck, because it can set the tone and the course for a lifetime," Fischer said in a news release. "When federal dollars for youth jobs ended, we stepped up and -- with the support of local businesses -- we are creating these critical job experiences for young people."

This is the third year Fischer has reached out to business and community leaders to support the summer jobs program. Since 2011, the program has placed more than 2,000 youth in summer employment.

Employers that have hired youth for jobs this summer include Thorntons, GSI Commerce, Norton Healthcare, Family Heath Centers, General Electric, Ford, Packaging Unlimited, Amazon, Kroger, UPS and Walmart.

"We placed 35 youth last year and retained seven as full-time employees after the seven-week period ended, and this summer, we have 60 youth working," said Matt Thornton, president and CEO of Thorntons. "These young people came to us work ready, and they became part of the Thorntons' team and worked alongside many of our valued employees."

SummerWorks participants are on the job for at least 30 hours per week for seven weeks. Some youth obtained jobs through the Mayor's Youth Opportunity Showcase and began working before the end of the school year. Others began working May 28 and finished their SummerWorks employment July 12. Another group of youth started working June 17 and will finish Aug. 2. 

Jefferson County Public Schools is a key partner in preparing students for summer jobs and careers beyond.

"Our students who participate in SummerWorks are learning what skills they will need to be successful as working adults," Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said. "They are learning the value of working hard to earn a paycheck. And, most importantly, they are learning that what they have studied and been asked to master in the classroom is really important to employers and to being successful after high school."

In addition to the companies that directly hired youth, $650,000 was donated to the summer employment effort. Contributions totaling $450,000 came from Mr. and Mrs. David Jones Sr., the James Graham Brown Foundation, the Gheens Foundation, the Council for Opportunity in Education, Yum! Brands Foundation, PNC Bank Foundation, General Electric Foundation, LG&E Foundation and others. Fischer and the Metro Council provided $200,000 for the program in the current city budget.

These donations helped local nonprofit organizations and government agencies use 122 SummerWorks youth to staff their summer programs: The American Red Cross, Americana Community Center, Boys and Girls Clubs in the Newburg, Parkland and Shawnee neighborhoods, Community Foundation of Louisville, the Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm, Louisville Regional Airport Authority, Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation and other Louisville Metro Government agencies, and St. Peter's United Church of Christ. Also, donations funded workforce readiness training that certified approximately 500 youth as ready for work this summer.

The Mayor's SummerWorks program is led by KentuckianaWorks, Greater Louisville's Workforce Investment Board and an agency of Louisville Metro Government, in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education through the KentuckianaWorks Youth Career Center.

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