What is WorkReady Philadelphia?
WorkReady Philadelphia is a cross-sector partnership dedicated to improving the economic outcomes of the region's youth by attracting, aligning and investing resources in youth workforce-development strategies. Each year, WorkReady programs provide thousands of young people with career exposure and preparation opportunities designed to enhance their understanding and mastery of the skills needed to be successful in a 21st century, global economy.
The city's summer jobs initiative for teens is under the WorkReady Philadelphia umbrella. Last summer, 5,336 students were placed at 940 worksites throughout the region, giving many participants their first professional work experience.
What is the WorkReady Philadelphia Save Summer Jobs campaign?
The Save Summer Jobs campaign is designed to build awareness about the current crisis in youth unemployment and the need for additional workforce opportunities for youth. By drawing attention to this dire situation, the campaign hopes to realign, leverage and raise additional revenues through government, corporate, philanthropic and individual sources between March 13 and June 30 to support 7,500 slots in the WorkReady summer jobs program.
Why are summer jobs for youth so important?
Our region's future economic stability and growth depends on an educated, talented, and experienced workforce, and work experiences improve the lives of youth in both the short and long-term. WorkReady programs introduce participants to careers, develop their work-based knowledge and skills, are a catalyst for their education and career planning, and increase the economic outcomes of participants.
Why are there fewer opportunities for youth to work?
Within the last two years, revenues supporting WorkReady have fallen sharply. These reductions were echoed locally as well, with both the School District of Philadelphia (which faced a massive budget crisis triggered by state budget cuts) and City departments limiting their financial support. It is important to note that budget shortfalls have resulted in the reduction not just in summer jobs but in other extended learning opportunities for youth throughout Philadelphia.
This comes at a critical juncture. While the job market for all Americans has been sluggish, the weak economy has hit young job seekers particularly hard. Data released by the U.S. Department of Labor on January 6, 2012 indicated that the overall, national unemployment rate was 8.5%. For youth between the ages of 16 to 19, however, the unemployment rate was at 23%.
Is Philadelphia the only region experiencing this crisis?
Certainly not. In fact, this is a national issue. In response to the reduction of funds for youth employment that has been felt across the country, the U.S. Department of Labor and the White House launched the Summer Jobs+ initiative, a call to action to American businesses, non-profits and government entities to put young people to work this summer. This new initiative promotes the connections that make WorkReady Philadelphia successful – the involvement of the private and public sector to support opportunities for youth in order to build the future workforce. Because of our alignment with this national initiative, Philadelphia was the only youth employment system invited to participate at the Summer Jobs+ launch at the White House in this past January.
How can I help?
There are many ways to get involved in the campaign:
Do employers like hiring young people?
Absolutley. The business community and local foundations continue to be strong supporters of WorkReady Philadelphia, especially through our employer-paid internships program. Each year, more than 95% of participating employers express satisfaction with the program and say they would hire interns again. In fact, despite the tough current economic environment, one out of five employers in 2011 actually increased the number of interns they supported over the prior year and 27 new businesses came on board.
How can I hire an intern to work at my office?
If you or your employer would like to hire interns at your business or cover the costs for interns to work at other businesses and organizations, please call Farrah Farnese at 267-502-3702 or register online at www.pyninc.org/programs/request-summer.php.
What does the summer job per slot cost cover?
If you have additional questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.