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Officials hope to find summer jobs for 15,000 youth

LOS ANGELES — City and county officials announced a goal July 6 of helping 15,000 young people get jobs this year as part of the Los Angeles Summer Youth Employment program, which is available to people 14 to 24 years of age.

The program is open to all youth in the county, but the priority is on young people in the foster system or from low-income neighborhoods.

Youth workers will each receive wages totaling about $1,100, as well as training in financial literacy and workplace skills. Assistance with work clothes and bus tokens are also provided if needed.

Partners include the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Marshalls, Target, Sony and Disney, with jobs varying depending on the young person’s goals and interests. Positions are also being made available in county and city departments, including the fire departments.

“Jobs empower young people,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “They give them the success they need. They experience what it feels like to support their families. … And that is such a meaningful down payment on their futures.”

County Supervisor Don Knabe also said helping young get employed is a worthwhile endeavor.

“Investing in our young people has a great return,” he said. “For them having a job — that helps them develop skills, good work habits and to realize their potential.”

The county put in about $25 million, with the city contributing $8.5 million, to the program.

County Supervisor Hilda Solis called the program “an enormous commitment to our region’s youth with career exposure and employment opportunities that can make a lifelong impact for the participants and their communities.”

“I can relate through my own experiences that when communities come together with a deep desire to invest in their youth, it is truly an investment in the leaders of the future,” Solis said.

The positive impact of youth employment is well documented. A labor market study commissioned by the Brookings Institute revealed that high school students who work 20 hours per week have higher levels of future economic attainment — earning approximately 20 percent more annually, and receiving 10 percent higher hourly wages than those who do not work.

For young adults ages 20-24, those who worked at least 13 weeks in the previous year had a 30 percent higher chance of employment than those without any work experience.

The summer youth program has been around for more than three decades, but has expanded greatly in recent years. Previously, officials had committed to between 5,000 to 12,000 jobs for youth around the county.

 

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