Special to the Patriot-Bridge
Mayor Michelle Wu and the Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity (YEO) last week announced the expansion of the SuccessLink Summer Youth Employment program for 2023. The program is now accepting applications. Boston youth ages 14-18 can apply for in-person and hybrid summer job opportunities at nonprofits, community-based organizations, and City agencies. This year, the City made an unprecedented $18.7M investment in youth jobs, the largest in Boston’s history. This funding will support 5,000 youth jobs in partnership with local nonprofits and community organizations and 2,000 City based youth jobs, making the City the largest employer for youth summer jobs in Boston. The program’s expansion is part of a larger effort to incentivize both nonprofit and corporate employers’ commitment to reach pre-COVID summer job levels. “Ensuring that every young person across our city has access to job opportunities is critical in our work to lay a foundation for Boston’s youth to grow and thrive,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “The City’s youth summer jobs program is critical in empowering our youth and connecting them with opportunity. This year, we are expanding the number of youth jobs available and deepening our partnerships which will allow our young people explore careers and develop their skills. I’m grateful to all of our partners and employers for their commitment to our young people and encourage every teenager and young adult to apply for a summer job.” “As a city, choosing to invest in young people will always be the right decision. Youth jobs are essential to giving young people a space to develop themselves into young professionals; exposure to various industries and occupations; explore where their interest can intersect with the impact they desire to have in the world; to build relationships with trusted advisors and develop skills to be prepared for future career and educational opportunities,” said Rashad Cope, Deputy Chief of the Worker Empowerment Cabinet and the Office of Youth Employment & Opportunity. “We know how critical it is to ensure every young person has access to job opportunities, and collectively we are committed to this, alongside our incredible partners and employers who make these employment experiences possible for Boston youth.” Led by the Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity, SuccessLink is designed to not only recruit and hire youth, but also to ensure that their employment experience is engaging, meaningful, and advances their professional and personal development. Last fall, Mayor Wu established the Worker Empowerment Cabinet to advance the wellbeing of Boston workers, led by Chief Trinh Nguyen. Expanding economic opportunities for youth through access to quality jobs, skills training, and career pipelines is a key priority of the cabinet. The Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity, formerly the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment (DYEE), was moved to the Worker Empowerment Cabinet to lead this work. “Getting a summer job can be life-changing for young people in terms of gaining work readiness skills, identifying career interests, obtaining a mentor, and in many instances, getting that first, memorable paycheck,” said Trinh Nguyen, Chief of Worker Empowerment. “The City of Boston is grateful to the many community partners coming together to provide these opportunities for our young people. We look forward to working with all of them to help build for the future.” Each year, YEO partners with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, City agencies, and lead youth employment providers, including Action for Boston Community Development, the Boston Private Industry Council, Artists for Humanity, John Hancock MLK Scholars, and the Boys and Girls Club of Boston to create youth summer jobs. Youth have the opportunity to get connected to various industries that provide inspiration for long-term careers such as the arts, health care, STEM, sports and recreation, education, and public administration. “SuccessLink is the foundation for the entire Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program. It is the one source for summer youth employment that is open to all Boston teenagers, regardless of neighborhood or high school,” said Neil Sullivan, Executive Director of the Boston Private Industry Council. “The young people who connect with private sector opportunities through the PIC often credit their prior SuccessLink job as preparing them for a summer internship in healthcare, finance, life sciences, architecture, or other profession.” “ABCD is pleased to partner with the City of Boston to ensure that young people of Boston have an abundance of summer employment options,” said Sharon Scott-Chandler, President & CEO of ABCD, Inc. “As a longstanding provider of access to youth employment and career development services through our SummerWorks program (and other programs), ABCD understands very well that these initiatives build a foundation to support academic achievement and future employment successes.” “Artists For Humanity is excited to grow our partnership with the City of Boston’s Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity this summer by providing hundreds of teen jobs with meaningful summer learning experiences for our City’s young people,” said Anna Yu, Executive Director of Artists For Humanity. “With the ambitious vision of YEO, and hundreds of amazing partner organizations, Summer 2023 is on track to be the best and biggest year ever for creative teen employment in Boston! We are honored to play a part in helping to make this possible.” This year, YEO has expanded its youth jobs grantmaking efforts to provide more funding directly to nonprofit organizations to design job experiences, remove barriers to enrollment and transfer administrative responsibilities to allow for a more streamlined process. These expanded efforts will encourage greater collaboration, coalition building, and learn and earn models among higher education institutions and job providers in the youth employment space. To ensure that all youth have equitable access to these opportunities, the City will continue to support organizations that focus on proven at-risk youth populations (e.g. justice-involved youth, foster care, youth experiencing homelessness, etc.) YEO will work to ensure that disadvantaged youth get access to employment opportunities through the Massachusetts Commonwealth Corporation YouthWorks partnership. Additionally, the department will again work with the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA) to provide immigrant youth with hands-on leadership and skills training, regardless of immigration status. “People don’t realize how quickly your status can change and how much it can limit your opportunities. As a former Dreamer, I know what it’s like to feel frustrated by that because I had so much to offer to the world,” said Monique Tú Nguyen, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement. “Through opportunities like this, we can ensure that this generation of youth has opportunities that I didn’t have, and the world can benefit from their full potential.” The SuccessLink webpage has been updated to make it easier for young people to navigate the application process. Youth can view job postings, see a list of required documents, and apply directly to the organizations. The Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity also offers application assistance. Youth can visit the office in person, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1483 Tremont Street in Roxbury, or call 617-635-4202 to get help. The Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity will also be hosting a Youth Job and Resource Fair at the Reggie Lewis Center on Saturday, April 22, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Youth will have the opportunity to connect with 100+ summer employers, access youth resources, receive job application assistance, and win prizes. Refreshments will be provided. Parents and/or guardians are welcome to attend with their youth. Applying for a summer position with SuccessLink does not guarantee a job but the goal is to place as many youth as possible. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Youth are encouraged to get their applications in early. For more information on the 2023 SuccessLink Summer Youth Employment program, visit boston.gov/summer-jobs.