Mayor Ed Lee will announce a citywide summer youth job program today that is expected to offer more than 5,000 positions within private businesses and city government.
Lee will roll out San Francisco’s Summer Jobs +, an initiative that builds on The City’s ongoing youth job efforts and responds to President Barack Obama’s January challenge for more youth employment nation wide.
Joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, Lee is expected to announce in collaboration with United Way Bay Area the planned creation of 2,500 city government summer jobs for youth ages 16 to 24 and a matching number of jobs from private businesses for a total of at least 5,000.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and I urge you to rise to the challenge by pledging jobs or sponsoring summer internships to infuse our economy with new skills and leadership,” Lee said in a recent letter to members of the Chamber of Commerce.
Some youth job advocates said they preferred financial contributions from private companies instead of the job offers. That way they could use the money to expand existing youth employment programs offered by nonprofits partnering with city departments. YouthWorks, for example, plans to hire high school kids as summer interns in various city departments. Interns work 20 hours per week and are paid $10.24 per hour
The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee approved a resolution Wednesday calling on Lee to raise $2.25 million from private companies to support city departments’ youth job programs. It notes that former Mayor Willie Brown had raised $1 million 12 years ago for youth jobs. It’s estimated a summer job for a youth costs about $2,500 and the fundraising could generate 900 additional jobs.
“Youth really need jobs. Right now our youth job rate is the lowest in more than 60 years and we have a 33 percent unemployment rate … of youth that actually want employment,” said Nicholas Persky, who sits on the Youth Commission.
Last summer, city-funded youth job programs had to turn away more than 2,000 young job seekers.