5,000 youth placed in jobs and internships this summer. Check. Self-esteem, a sense of financial responsibility, and an understanding of what it takes to succeed in the workplace. Check. A brighter future for thousands of young people. Check.
San Francisco Summer Jobs+, a partnership between United Way’s MatchBridge program and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, was an enormous success, providing opportunities for thousands of urban youth to get experience in the workplace.
In California, young people age 16-24, experience a staggering 20% unemployment rate. Some of those youth struggle to stay off the streets, some come fresh out of college, and many fall in between. Regardless of background, without opportunities, kids lose hope and are more likely to fall into poverty. But having early work experiences builds confidence and puts young people on a pathway toward education and financial success.
“I always had dreams, but before my internship, everyone said I wasn’t going to go to college just because I am a foster youth,” said Elexus Hunter, 18-year-old Summer Jobs+ participant and Clark Atlanta University student, “I was doubting myself, but at my internship at BRE Properties, everyone pushed me to achieve my goals. I am now the first in my family to attend a four-year college.”
San Francisco Summer Jobs+ is part of a national initiative launched by the White House, calling on companies, nonprofits, and government agencies across the nation to create youth jobs and internships and put at-risk young people to work. The goal in San Francisco was 5,000 jobs, and as the program winds down through September 30th,we already are well over that number.
MatchBridge, United Way’s youth employment program, will continue working with youth throughout the year to help them improve resumes, hone interview skills, and obtain jobs and internships. Next stop? Holiday hiring!
Want to hire a San Francisco youth or know a young person who needs a job? Go to www.matchbridge.org.
Elexus Hunter is an 18-year old Matchbridge youth referred by the Japanese Community Youth Council, one of MatchBridge’s community partners providing employment services to San Francisco youth.