ST. LOUIS -- STL Youth Jobs, a youth employment program for young adults ages 16-24, launches its fifth summer of providing training and summer job opportunities.
STL Youth Jobs is now accepting applications for youth, and businesses to employ them. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay kicked off the 2017 program at a breakfast event with some of the region's largest employers. Mayor Slay talked about the importance of STL Youth Jobs and how summer jobs put young people on the path to success. The Mayor also renewed his challenge to area businesses and foundations to open their doors and provide 800 total jobs this summer for young adults in St. Louis.
"I am incredibly pleased with the progress I've seen since we started STL Youth Jobs five years ago. When federal dollars for programs like this were all but eliminated, businesses and philanthropists helped fill the void by providing 100 jobs for young adults in our inaugural year," Mayor Slay said. "But now we have a waiting list. We have far more young people who are willing and able to work but need local businesses to give them an opportunity to work and learn."
In 2016, STL Youth Jobs exceeded the Mayor's Sustainability Action Agenda by placing 584 young adults in summer jobs, but the waiting list for employment was triple that amount.
"Businesses know that they are helping to develop our City's next workforce, and in turn, perhaps some of their own future employees," Mayor Slay said. "It is our goal to make sure this funding is sustained, so that every summer – not just this summer –young people have the opportunities to hone their job skills, develop a strong work ethic and become a ready and capable workforce for future jobs of our City."
The Mayor, along with community partners, launched STL Youth Jobs in 2013 to begin addressing the growing skills gap as well as the high rates of youth violence and youth unemployment in the region. Each year, STL Youth Jobs has grown and added new opportunities.
Last summer alone, STL Youth Jobs supported more than 500 job opportunities for young adults and worked with nearly 200 local employers. Of these youth participants, 77 percent would not have had summer employment without STL Youth Jobs, which also provides every young person with paid employment, job readiness training and career and mentoring support from a job coach, financial literacy training and education, and connection to a free checking and savings account. More than 50 percent of participants report that STL Youth Jobs is their first job, and each year more than 94 percent of employers agree to participate again.
Since the pilot summer of 2013, STL Youth Jobs has connected nearly 2,500 young adults with meaningful employment experiences. Prior to STL Youth Jobs, the number of St. Louis youth that would have summer jobs each year was highly dependent on the amount of federal funding available to St. Louis. This year's fundraising goal is $2 million, which would employ 800 youth for eight weeks in the summer.
"We are asking our partners, old and new, to give the gift of opportunity. While it may just seem like a summer job, these opportunities impact youth far beyond the summer," Hillary Frey, Executive Director of STL Youth Jobs, said. "Young adults learn valuable skills on the job, not just job specific skills, but things like how to get along with your supervisor, and proper workplace etiquette. These are the same skills that most of us learned early on, during our first jobs. A gift to STL Youth Jobs is an investment in ensuring our young people succeed and our community thrives."
How to Get Involved
St. Louis area youth interested in a summer job can complete an application here between now and April 30. On a rolling basis between now and May 15, applicants will be enrolled, trained and matched to employers based on interest, ability, and accessibility. This year's work experience begins June 1. Participants are allowed to work a total of 160 hours, typically working 20 hours per week for eight weeks
Business interested in providing summer work experiences for St. Louis youth can sign up to fund and/or provide jobs here. It costs $2,500 to fund one program participant, including their salary, job training, financial literacy education, and job coaching.
Among last year's major sponsors were: Archdiocese of St. Louis, Citi Foundation, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, City of St. Louis, Civic Progress, Clark-Fox Family Foundation, The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank, Trustee, Emerson, Incarnate Word Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Mercy, Monsanto, Mysun Charitable Foundation, Nestle Purina PetCare Company, SSM Health, as well as many other private donors.
About STL Youth Jobs
STL Youth Jobs, whose goal is to bring economic opportunities to youth in our region, is the collaborative effort of many community partners including MERs/Goodwill, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, Incarnate Word Foundation, the City of St. Louis, and the St. Louis Community Foundation. For more information on STL Youth Jobs, visit www.stlyouthjobs.org, follow on Twitter @stlyouthjobs or visit facebook www.facebook.com/stlyouthjobs.
St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment