Wanted: Chicago Businesses to Hire Youths

March 16, 2011

Each year, the city of Chicago offers thousands of summer jobs for the area’s young people, but this year, the program is feeling the heat from the economy just like the rest of us.

Mayor Richard M. Daley has announced that Chicago will be able to provide more than 14,000 internships, apprenticeships and jobs for people ages 14 to 21 years old this summer through the city’s “Youth Ready Chicago” program.

The Mayor is urging companies in the city this summer to hire young people or to sponsor a youth employment opportunity through the program, which last year was able to provide more than 18,000 summer jobs in the public and private sectors.

“Young people are looking for ways to grow and be productive during the summer months, and a job provides an alternative to spending time in the streets. Jobs teach responsibility and keep our children out of harm’s way,” said Daley.

“Not only do summer jobs provide the work experience that may lead to a career, but in some cases these jobs will be needed to help families make ends meet during these very tough economic times.”

These young Chicagoans gained professional and life skills through the program at Columbia College Chicago last summer.

Last year’s summer opportunities were supported by $8.6 million in federal stimulus money that is no longer available, so Mayor Daley is calling upon local businesses to step it up.

“We have many partners in the private sector who are strongly committed to the Youth Ready Chicago program. But we all know that most jobs are in the private sector. So today I want to challenge our business leaders to strengthen their efforts to provide jobs for young people,” he said.

“The bottom line is that we need everyone’s help to keep our kids occupied in a positive way this summer.”

Daley said that this summer will offer several new programs, which are being supported in part by $1.6 million in parking meter infrastructure funds.

One of those opportunities is called the Summer Mini-Grant program, which will have Chicago’s youth working on neighborhood-based projects, like starting a neighborhood dance troupe or designing a website for a community organization.

If you are a Chicago business interested in sponsoring or employing a young person for the summer, good for you! Visit for more information.

For you young people looking for a summer job, you should also visit to fill out an application.

The deadline to apply is June 3.

Good luck!

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