Record number of teens employed by One Summer Chicago in 2018

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 30,000 Chicago teens and young adults spent the summer working and getting experience on several different job sites. This experience is something these young people can use to set themselves up for success in the future.

Participants in the city's summer jobs program, One Summer Chicago, painted viaducts, mulched trees and interned at places like McDonald's and Wintrust Bank.

Nia Robinson graduated from Jones College Prep. She has been working at the bank for the past six weeks as a money mentor for young people, saving her own paycheck to help her go to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

"A lot of us look forward to it during the summer, knowing that the city is making sure we have a job or making sure we have something to do," Robinson said.

Back in 2011, there were 14,000 young people participating in One Summer Chicago. This year, a record-high 34,000 young people were part of the program.

"We're thrilled and sobered by it this year. We got over 64,000 - 65,000 applications for a little over 32,000 positions. That has been consistent," Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler said.

One Summer Chicago places young people from ages 14 to 24 into subsidized jobs for six to eight weeks at government agencies, non-profits and businesses. It's funded by the city and some private sector money.

"There are a lot of different jobs. It's helpful for us to kind of realize what we're good at, maybe what we're going into. That can really give us an advantage in the future. It also gives us something to do. It gives us money, so that we're encouraged to go to college or encouraged to do something else in the future," Robinson said.

The city would like to continue growing the program, to prepare young people for careers. They are encouraging more businesses to partner with the program, which is helping young people like Robinson. She hopes to one day become a federal judge.

"Definitely some of the skills I learned are things that can be transferrable into other careers," Robinson said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to visit participants at a work site in Chicago's West Town neighborhood Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the program's success.

The six-week program closes this week.
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