$17M stimulus money helped thousands have youth summer jobs

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DEFENDER STAFF WRITER

More than 19,000 youths worked this summer, thanks to the City of Chicago’s summer job program for youths, Youth Ready Chicago, city officials said.

For students and young adults, ages 14 to 24, the city made available 19,100 summer jobs with various public and private agencies throughout Chicago. Nearly $43 million from federal, state and private funds were made available to pay the workers for summer employment.

Federal stimulus funds – $17.3 million – afforded the city to add 7,300 additional spots to the program, and a special $500,000 grant from the state allowed for youths to tap into the gardening market and video documentation of the summer program, the director of Youth Ready Chicago told the Defender.

“The stimulus money allowed us to provide more jobs for the summer and our goal was to make sure that the youths worked at least six weeks during the program,” said Mary Ellen Messner, director of YRC.

She added that the average wage for the summer employees was $8.00 per hour.

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