CHICAGO (WLS) -- One Summer Chicago, now in its 20th year, is one of the largest youth employment and services initiatives in the country, providing thousands of young people aged 16 to 24 the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in technology, healthcare, media and finance.
"It's not something that people get to do very often and it's not something I expected to do. Maybe work at a restaurant or something," said 18-year-old Cesar Hernandez.
The recent Lindbloom High School graduate has already secured a summer job working in corporate America as part of One Summer Chicago.
Younger kids aged 14 and 15 can apply for a summer-long program paying $450 in weekly stipends. The deadline to apply for the programs is tonight.
The city said they've received over 30,000 applications for over 19,000 job opportunities.
Urban Initiatives has 50 positions they're looking to fill. The not-for-profit community-based organization provides support for kids and teens through their summer camps, internships and other initiatives.
"My hope is they come out and they have fun and. They make money," said Dajuan King, program director.
According to the city, unemployment rates among youth ages 16 to 24 were exacerbated during the pandemic, which saw the lowest levels of youth summer employment since the Great Recession.
Hernandez, who hopes to one day become an aerospace engineer, said no one should pass up the opportunities One Summer Chicago provides.
"Definitely apply. If you don't like it's just one summer. It's going to open up a lot of doors," he said.