Three hundred thirteen disadvantaged youths have summer employment this year with the application of $1.493 million in stimulus funding to the Pittsburgh Partnership’s Summer Youth Employment Program.
Judy Hill Finegan, manager of Pittsburgh Partnership, said that the purpose of the program was to expose city youth to career environments and opportunities.
“Jobs that kids used to get in the summer,” Hill Finegan said, “adults are applying for them. Summer jobs are not as available as they have been previously.”
The program, also funded by the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Foundation, will employ a total of 554 youths from across Pittsburgh, with 313 funded by Recovery Act money.
Only disadvantaged youth were eligible for the 313 positions funded by federal money, but any city youth could apply for the remaining 241 positions. Eligibility was determined by household income, Hill Finegan said.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said that he wanted the kids to have two options for employment, Hill Finegan said. One is conservation work, which includes working in parks and on city land and planting gardens, among other things.
The other option is internships with businesses, which could include working at hospitals, banks, some colleges, city council, summer camps or art initiatives.
Applications for employment were due on June 10th, and Hill Finegan said the program received over 1,040. Each applicant was put into a database based on zip code, and a certain number of youths from each area were selected blindly based on how many applicants each zip code had.
Hill Finegan said she did not know how many youths were selected from each zip code.
She said that while similar programs have been around since the 1960s, this is the first year since 1999 that the program has received federal funding.