Putting young people to work
Philadelphia is facing a summer jobs crisis. Due to diminishing federal funds and the recession, estimates suggest that only 5,400 young people will work this summer through WorkReady Philadelphia, the city's youth workforce development system. Local employers, area foundations, and city and state governments are stepping up. But there's still a way to go to reach the target of 7,500 jobs.
Every job opportunity is important because you never know the impact. Take Olney student Odelia McFadden. An internship at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children inspired her to study adolescent psychology. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees, and this fall will begin a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Michael Burns, a South Philadelphia High student who interned at Wachovia, was offered a full-time position at the company after graduation. He attended college part-time while he worked. Today he works for The Vanguard Group and credits WorkReady for his accomplishments.
Young people want, need, and deserve high-quality experiences offered through WorkReady. The Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success has launched the 2012 Save Summer Jobs campaign, aimed at heightening awareness of this impending crisis and generating donations to increase job opportunities for young people.
Individuals and employers can make a donation to youth slots. To find ways to contribute and get involved, visit our website.
-Stacy E. Holland and Sharmain Matlock-Turner
The writers are president and CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network, and president and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition, respectively.