CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Summer Youth Works 2008, a program that provides young people from communities throughout Illinois summer employment. This summer, the program will provide summer jobs for up to 10,000 youth helping them to establish productive work habits while investing in their communities. The Summer Youth Works initiative will provide jobs focused on community service, community and highway beautification, job training programs and pre-professional training such as working with highway engineering firms.
“Summer jobs gave me the opportunity to work and be engaged in positive activities as a teenager. For some of our youth, having a summer job means earning money and providing real alternatives to gangs and violence,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Programs like this mean a lot for communities that are suffering from crime and increased violence– communities that need our help. The time for help is now.”
The Summer Youth Works initiative will begin in early July and run for approximately eights weeks, until Labor Day. The students will work under the supervision of community providers throughout the state, including those in communities throughout Chicago, Rockford, Decatur, East St. Louis/Alton, Pembroke Township, East Aurora, Alexander County, Venice, North Chicago, Danville, Springfield, Champaign, Peoria, Carpentersville, Elgin, Joliet, Savannah, Waukegan, North Chicago and Freeport. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are coordinating the program. Youth looking for summer employment can call 1-800-843-6154, TTY # is 1-888-614-2386 for more information.
“Youth from disadvantaged communities need access to employment opportunities now more than ever. These jobs will teach kids to be responsible and will help keep them out of trouble,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “This new summer jobs program will help thousands of kids in struggling areas across the state have a chance to not only develop new skills and earn some money while doing so, but it will play a big part of preparing for future success. Just imagine what 10,000 kids working hard to improve their community and help turn it around can do for Illinois.”
The Governor was joined today by youth interested in community employment, Representative Ken Dunkin, Senator Rickey Hendon, Senator William Delgado, and local community groups to announce Summer Youth Works.
The initiative will employ youth ranging in age from 13 years to 22 years old for 20 to 25 hours per week in jobs such as cleaning up a community lot and planting new trees, working with the elderly population, developing community leadership programs or learning pre-professional skills while working with people such as transportation engineers.
Participants who are 13 to 15 years old will work for 20 hours a week and receive a stipend of $250 at the end of their experience. 16 to 18 year old participants will also work 20 hours a week and earn $8 an hour. Youth ages 19 to 22 years old will work 25 hours a week and earn $10 per hour.
“My job during the school year allowed me to support my family, and if I were employed over the summer I could help even more. I also would like to gain job experience so that I can be a nurse when I grow up. I would like to thank the Governor for creating the program and creating opportunities for students like myself to get a job,” said Freya Enriquez who will enter her sophomore year at Christo Rey Jesuit High School this fall.
“IDOT is tremendously excited about the opportunity to harness the creativity and energy of so many young people and to put their talents to use in improving our transportation system and beautifying our communities,” said IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees. “Having started out my career in the transportation field as summer intern for IDOT, I am keenly aware of how even one summer’s worth of experience can open up new horizons for a young person who is trying to chart a course for their future.”