Youth Employment Up 19 Percent From 2022 Through One Summer Chicago

Mayor Brandon Johnson recently announced that over 24,000 young people were employed through the One Summer Chicago program during the summer of 2023, representing a 19% increase from the previous year.

The OSC program is a partnership between the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Family and Support Services, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Transit Authority, City Colleges of Chicago, community-based organizations, corporate partners, and local companies to offer employment and internship opportunities to young people ages 14 to 24.

“The data from this summer is an encouraging start and a tremendous step forward for youth in our city,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “My administration is committed to investing in our young people, and I am pleased that we were able to reach over 24,000 of them in the first few months of my administration. In the years ahead, we will continue bringing together our City partners, business partners, community organizations, faith, labor and all other stakeholders to significantly expand these programs to create pathways for our young people to thrive, during the summer and beyond.”

The OSC program consists of three interconnected programs:

  1. Chicago Youth Service Corps: Employs youth ages 16-24 year-round through programming focused on leadership development and local/civic engagement.
  2. Chicagobility: Employs youth ages 14-15 through project-based learning and skill-building experiences.
  3. Summer Youth Employment Program: Employs youth ages 16-24 through job placement or training programs to provide work experiences and develop skills for career pathways.

The total number of participants in this summer’s program marks an increase of over 4,000 young people in comparison to last year’s total. Of the participants engaged in this summer’s programs, 1,771 youth have disabilities, 13,903 are attending Level 2, Level 3, or Option schools, 2,698 are English as a Second Language Learners, 755 are young people who are experiencing homelessness or are unstably housed, 233 are in the foster care system, 219 are justice-involved, and 2,494 are youth who are out of school and out of work. Across all OSC partners, youth completed 2.43 million hours of work experience and project-based learning. Youth earned over $33.9 million in wages.

“We are proud that we have been able to effectively partner with our community organizations, corporate partners, and sister agencies to provide tens of thousands of young people valuable paid work experience this summer,” said Jen Johnson, Deputy Mayor of Education, Youth, and Human Services. “These young people are leaders in their communities, and we look forward to working in partnership with them to expand work opportunities moving forward.”

The My CHI. My Future. Safe Spaces for Youth program includes both community events—called “Kickbacks”—and year-round youth employment. Kickback events strengthen healthy community ecosystems for young people (ages 13-19) and their families across the city by providing enriching, community-based out-of-school time activities.

The youth employment component provides youth (ages 16-24) an opportunity to gain work experience and increase self-efficacy while planning and implementing community events throughout the year. In 2023, 225 youth were employed through MCMF and put together 110 Kickback events this summer which were attended by over 14,000 youth and community members.

The Johnson administration further engaged youth by expanding the Mayor’s Youth Commission. The Mayor’s Youth Commission (ages 14-19), now in its 5th cohort, expanded from 32 to 40 youth for the 2023-2024 cohort. The first monthly meeting of the expanded Youth Commission took place on September 9th, 2023 at City Hall.

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