CRRNH_OneSummerChicago_040523

Thousands of jobs for teens this summer

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Mayor launches 2023 One Summer Chicago 

By Tim Hadac

Summer employment and volunteer opportunities for as many as 20,000 young people await, via the 2023 One Summer Chicago initiative launched last week by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The annual effort provides in-person job and life-skills training for city residents ages 14 to 24 from June 26 to Aug. 4. This year, OSC participants will earn $15.40 an hour within all city government departments.

Young people may apply at OneSummerChicago.org until the June 2 deadline.

CRRNH OneSummerChicago 040523

While One Summer Chicago teens learn real-world job skills, the program also exposes them to young people of different backgrounds, opening their minds and expanding their worldview. – Supplied photo

“Young people across the city deserve to engage in safe, inspiring activities as well as paid opportunities for the time when they are not in school,” Lightfoot said. “One Summer Chicago invests in thousands of summer work experiences to support Chicago’s youth, elevate their professional skills, and give them an opportunity to earn a paycheck. I’m proud to continue this program to empower our youth and prepare them for success.”

The OSC 2023 portfolio will support young people as they participate in career exploration opportunities and strengthen their own neighborhoods, providing positive summer activities that support individual and community growth. The OSC portfolio of opportunities introduces young Chicagoans to the private, public and nonprofit sectors through thousands of hands-on experiences in tech, healthcare, media and more.

“I hesitated in 2019 to have my son sign up for this program,” said McKinley Park resident Anabela Barragán. “When I was a teenager, I was a city government intern. It was just a lot of go-fer stuff, make-work tasks. But what my son experienced was entirely different. It was real-world experience that actually got him started on the field he’s in today.”

Agreeing was Cristina Ayala-Ponce of Back of the Yards.

“My niece went through this program,” she told the Greater Southwest News-Herald. “She really enjoyed it, but it was more than fun. It was meaningful. It seemed to give her more focus. She grew up a bit, and that helped her be a better student when she returned to school in the fall.”

When a program connects a young person to a job or a service opportunity, “you are connecting them to their community,” said Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Brandie Knazze. “OSC is investing in our communities by giving Chicago youth the chance to explore their interests, develop their passions, and build their own pathways to the future.”

Report illustrates OSC effectiveness

Coinciding with the application launch, DFSS has released “Coming Back Together: Summer of Healing, Love, and Celebration,” a new report highlighting the experiences and perspectives of last year’s participants. Results from this report’s youth-programming survey show that young people active in out-of-school programs felt more connected to their communities and more prepared for their futures.

Findings include:

  • Chicago youth completed 1.9 million hours of project-based learning and work experiences.
  • 20,544 OSC participants earned over $25M in wages last summer.
  • Some 93% of Summer Enrichment Programming participants felt the program gave them a safe space to be their true selves.
  • About 88% of OSC participants feel more hopeful about their futures.

Opportunities for Chicago youth ages 14 to 15 are also available through the Chicagobility workforce preparation program. Over the course of a six-week period, young people will connect with public and private sector industries through site visits, trainings, and more — and will provide a weekly stipend, allowing young people to earn while they learn.

The Chicago Youth Service Corps, a year-round service-learning program, continues to welcome applicants. Since 2020, the program has helped young people connect with their communities through volunteer and community service opportunities. Previous participants have helped increase access to nutritious meals, address social and economic inequities, and more. Application is available at cysc.mychimyfuture.org.

More information on One Summer Chicago (Chicagobility and Summer Youth Employment Program) is available at OneSummerChicago.org.

More information on CYSC is available at cysc.mychimyfuture.org.

More information on MCMF is available at explore.mychimyfuture.org.

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