Last year, WorkReady Philadelphia, the citywide youth employment system, placed more than 11,000 young people in summer jobs thanks in large part to significant support from local businesses, foundations and federal stimulus funding. Despite this record number, there were still 10,000 more youth who wanted to work but couldn’t because there weren’t enough funded positions. While we will continue to advocate for government funding as well as apply for foundation grants and recruit more employers to support internships, we expect a major decline in the number of job opportunities available to young people this summer. Unfortunately, with predictions of a 50% cut in funding, we expect there will only be 5,500 jobs for local youth in summer 2011.
Since it launched in late March, there has been an outpouring of support to save summer work experiences for youth in Philadelphia. Hundreds of individuals and organizations are getting involved by sending information to their networks of friends and family, posting updates on their Facebook pages, writing articles for their newsletters and donating money to provide more opportunities for our young people. While donations are coming in, we still have not raised enough to make a significant difference.
Here is how you can help the campaign:
- If you haven’t already done so, please go to www.savesummerjobs.org and make a donation.
- Join Mayor Nutter at the 1st Annual WorkReady Fundraiser on Thursday, May 19 on the 57th floor of Two Liberty Place (50 S. 16th Street), sponsored by R2L and Ernst and Young. Register online at www.savesummerjobs.org/rsvp.
At a time when much of the news of budget cuts is grim, especially related to education, the Save Summer Jobs campaign is providing the community with hope; hope that we can make a difference in our city and in young people’s lives. There is nothing more powerful than that.
Remember that they need us today; we’ll need them tomorrow. Let’s help them get WorkReady!