HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner launched Hire Houston Youth, an initiative to provide summer internships and jobs to young people between the ages of 16 and 24. To help boost the initiative, Mayor Turner has guaranteed 450 jobs at Houston City Hall, City of Houston parks and libraries, and other facilities.
During a news conference on Thursday, Mayor Turner issued the following call to action aimed at the Houston business community:
Summer employment provides young people with an opportunity to gain workforce readiness skills, engages them in positive activities during the summer, and links them to long-term career opportunities.
An able and ready workforce is also critical in ensuring a robust economic future for our city. I am committed to providing summer jobs for our young people who live in the city. I am calling on our corporate partners and community organizations to work together with the City of Houston to Hire Houston’s Youth!
Less than one-third of American teens held a summer job in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Teen participation in the workforce is at a historic low. For at-risk youth, having a meaningful job, even for the summer, decreases their likelihood of dropping out of school.
“When an opportunity to learn more at work becomes available, you should take it because it helps open up other possibilities,” said Stephen F. Austin High School graduate Juan Vela, who worked at the Houston Department of Parks and Recreation during the summer of 2015. Vela is now working full time at the parks department and is saving money for tuition to attend Houston Community College where he hopes to obtain his commercial Driver’s License (CDL). He says that he hopes to eventually own a trucking company.
The application period for Hire Houston Youth begins on April 18 and closes on May 6. Applicants will attend workforce readiness training one week prior to their start date. They will also receive career coaching and other benefits to prepare them for the future. Once on the job, they will work from 32-to-40 hours each week for seven weeks and be paid no less than $8.00 an hour.
Businesses can help in the following ways:
- Hire and pay the salary of a Hire Houston Youth applicant and pledge $500 to support the program.
- Pledge $3,000 to sponsor a youth’s salary and other training and benefits.
- Support the initiative with a tax deductible donation through the website at http://www.houstontx.gov/hirehoustonyouth/index.html.