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Latino State News

7,000 Summer Jobs and 168,000 Activities to Keep Chicago Youth Safe this Summer

New Website Details Jobs and Programs Offered by City, Cook County, Sister Agencies and Non-Profits

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle today announced that One Summer Chicago, a partnership with Cook County, City departments and sister agencies, community groups and non-profits, will provide 17,000 summer jobs and 168,000 educational and recreational opportunities to keep Chicago’s youth safe this summer. 

“Keeping children busy and engaged helps them grow and develop as people, but it also keeps them safe so that they can enjoy their summer,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “By collaborating with Cook County and other agencies, we are doing more than offering children the chance to develop strong, responsible work habits or earn money – we are giving kids a safe alternative to spending unsupervised time on the streets.”

To help parents and children find and take advantage of these opportunities in the second year of this program, Chicago is launching a new website – www.OneSummerChicago.org – that will allow youth to apply for jobs through a common application and provide registration information on more than 168,000 other recreational activities.  The site will have details on jobs, internships, summer camps, organized sports programs and summer field trips to cultural institutions and other noteworthy locations across the city.  Online registration for summer Chicago Park District programs begins on Monday, April 9 and in-person registration starts Saturday, April 14. 

“Jobs are the key to providing opportunities for our youth that set the stage for productive citizenship going forward,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.  “By combining the resources of the county and the city in a concerted effort to do something about the unemployment rate for young adults, we are showing our communities that we are paying attention, and that we care. We are calling on local companies to take advantage of this valuable labor force resource and offer employment to our youth this summer.”

One company that has offered jobs previously and is participating again this year is Draw Enterprises LLC, which hires youth for administrative support positions.

“This is a great opportunity for Chicago’s youth to spend their summer productively and positively,” said Virginia Peinado, Human Resources Manager for Draw Enterprises.  “Every year, we see young people from across the city broaden their horizons by working with us.  One positive summer can change their lives forever.”

One Summer Chicago includes a targeted jobs program, One Summer PLUS, aimed at youth who are at increased risk of exposure to violence because they live in communities where the crime rates are traditionally higher and/or incidents of violent crimes are much greater, especially in the summer months.  The PLUS program is focused on providing opportunities to at least 500 youth from Morgan Park, Julian, Hyde Park, Simeon, Dunbar, Robeson, Gage Park, Orr, Kenwood, Harlan, Farragut, Fenger, and Marshall high schools.

The University of Chicago Crime Lab is working with the City of Chicago and Cook County government on this vital effort and will evaluate the effects of One Summer PLUS on violence involvement and school outcomes for program participants.

“Research has shown that youth who are employed are more likely to stay in school and less likely to be exposed to violence,” said Evelyn Diaz, Commissioner of the Department of Family & Support Services.  “We believe One Summer PLUS will have a positive impact on high-risk youth, and could serve as a model program for years to come.”

Funding for 18,000 of the openings is possible due to the City’s collection of $8.5 million in overdue fines and bills in 2012.

Coordinating efforts to offer these opportunities and activities to residents between the ages of 6 and 24 are the City’s Department of Family & Support Services, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Housing Authority, After School Matters, Chicago Public Libraries, City Colleges of Chicago, Cook County Works, Cook County Forest Preserve, and the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.