Thousands of young people starting summer Chicago jobs through Mayor Johnson program

Craig Wall Image
Monday, June 26, 2023
Thousands of young people starting summer jobs through new program
Thousands of young people are starting city of Chicago jobs through Mayor Brandon Johnson's program in an effort to curb violence.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A key component in Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's strategy for fighting violence shifted into high gear Monday.

Thousands of young people are starting summer jobs through the city's One Summer Chicago program.

Participants have said the program's benefits go beyond just having a job.

Monday was orientation day for 100 young people taking part in the city's summer jobs program.

"We're making significant increases in this year's program, with a projected 2,000 additional jobs for our young people throughout the city of Chicago," Johnson said.

That includes 76 internships at the Chicago Police Department, as well as opportunities at City Hall.

Last year, the program, in partnership with local businesses, provided more than 19,000 jobs.

Johnson has preached the importance of providing young people with jobs as a way to help counter the kinds of behavior in which large groups of young people cause chaos and damage downtown and in other parts of the city.

"The hope is that you find your purpose and discover your inner value," Johnson said.

Chicago Mayor Johnson provided updates on the city's youth hiring strategy Monday.

SEE ALSO: Chicago shootings: At least 29 shot, 8 fatally, in weekend gun violence across city, police say

Johnson worked to get buy-in from the business community and with it a commitment for year-round jobs.

The Cubs are among those offering opportunities this summer.

"We are happy to be here because in partnership with Levy, which is our concessions partner. We are helping to provide a pipeline for jobs this summer," Chicago Cubs Senior Vice President of Communications Julian Green said.

For participants in the program, this is more than just about having a summer job, it's an opportunity to build a future.

"This helps me financially, where my clothing brands, so I could be able to flourish in life with that, because that's me and my brother dream, to start our own clothing brand," 2nd-year participant Tyrese Johnson said.

"I would not be where I am today, financially stable, having a business and having more interest in different things than what I was just used to," 2nd-year participant Diego Rodriguez said.

For police trying to address the violence, there is a recognition that young people want and need an alternative.

"I was exclusively on the West Side this past weekend. And guess, just the mayor is speaking up, all the kids we engaged with and we know they're kind of on a little bit of a hustle, all of them asked for jobs," interim Chicago Police Superintendent Fred Waller said.

The mayor's goal is to eventually provide 40,000 summer jobs.

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