City of Atlanta launches 2022 Summer Youth Employment Program database
By Guest Columnist ANDRE DICKENS, 61st mayor of Atlanta
It is no secret that the mantra that guides my decisions in public office is that I draw circles rather than lines delineating borders between neighborhoods, people, services and places. My circles are diverse and inclusive and overlap to reflect everyone who lives in our great city of Atlanta, the capital of the South.
Children and youth are at the heart of each circle. How we care for them and the hope and promise we instill in them help define who we are. From education to health care, to our ability to sustain businesses and attract Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 corporations, to providing family-wage jobs, affordable housing, public safety and other quality-of-life indicators that determine our ability to continually rise like a phoenix is reflected in the upward mobility of our youth.
If their futures are bright, they will be in a position to not only carry on after us, but to do better, soar higher and accomplish more than the generations before them. In order for this to happen, we as a city must invest in them through knowledge, access and opportunity.
This is why my administration is making a heavy investment in the city’s youth by launching the 2022 Summer Youth Employment Program, which will give young people, ages 14 through 24, job opportunities in our community that will enable them to earn money, develop critical skills and partake in meaningful work experiences that they can build on to set the stage for future success.
Immediately after I took office, I convened a diverse group of 40 Atlanta residents who represent every echelon of the city to study and provide recommendations in four key areas that included education and youth. Their thoughtful suggestions identified strategies to strengthen our investment in young people to build a skilled and talented workforce. My Summer Youth Employment Program reflects those ideals. As one who personally benefited from experiences I gained as a youngster by first attending and later working at Camp Best Friends, I know firsthand how valuable early job opportunities can be.
While no one can do everything, we all can do something. There are more than 3,000 young people in Atlanta between the target ages who would like to be, and who should be, gainfully employed this summer. That is why I am asking Atlanta businesses, corporations, nonprofits, philanthropists, tech start-ups, news outlets, entertainment organizations and the academic community to look within their respective circles to identify positions that can be filled.
My office is creating a Summer Youth Employment Program portal where employers will be able to post opportunities and openings for our youth this summer, and we have already begun this process. This centralized system will make the process of finding work and hiring summer employees easier. The portal will be available in the coming weeks; however, I am encouraging all employers to visit our current site, www.ATLYouthEngage.com, to see the criteria and information that will be needed to begin onboarding youth.
The City of Atlanta has already identified more than 300 positions within the government’s purview with a starting salary of $15 an hour that run the gamut from full-time to part-time roles for an eight-week period beginning June 1, 2022. These positions are integrated into almost every branch of city government including the mayor’s office, public works, parks and recreation, planning, the police and fire departments, watershed management, information management and aviation to name a few. These positions will be among the first to populate the new one-stop portal.
Our efforts to employ these 3,000 youths this summer is a collective effort. That is why I am asking the Atlanta business, public, private, philanthropic and nonprofit community to help me help our young people. By hiring them to work in summer jobs, internships and apprenticeships, we can enable them to learn, grow, be exposed to opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise and earn money at the same time. The first step toward hiring our youth is visiting our site to see what is needed to participate in this endeavor.
While we debate the potential pathways our youth can take to achieve their individual goals, we have to keep in mind that the end goal is to have a skilled workforce that will make Atlanta a desirable place to live and do business.
We need this, the city of Atlanta needs this and our youths need this. If not now, when? If not us, who? Please, come and help me support one of my Moving Atlanta Forward initiatives by supporting our youth.
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