PHILADELPHIA (October 12, 2021) — Despite the current realities in the workforce, WorkReady Summer served more than 6,600 young people across Philadelphia this summer -- a notable increase compared to Summer 2020. At the conclusion of WorkReady Summer 2021, Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), the Summer Youth Employment Cabinet, the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Works convened to celebrate the successes of WorkReady Summer 2021 and launch the third and final year of the Philly Summer Jobs Fund.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 54.4 percent of young people (ages 16 to 24) were employed in July 2021. In July of 2020, this number was only 46.7 percent, showing that youth employment numbers are on the rise, but ultimately, still trailing pre-pandemic numbers. In July of 2019, youth employment sat at 56.2 percent. Lasting effects of the pandemic have continued to affect the workforce, and PYN faced new and ongoing challenges that impacted summer youth employment programming as a result.
Locally and nationally, many young people weighed conflicting opportunities, concerns over health and safety, availability of safe in-person experiences and national labor shortages when considering opportunities this summer. To ensure that young people are prepared for the future of work, 93% of WorkReady programming included hybrid work experiences this summer. Programming also included digital and financial literacy training. This summer, PYN partnered with Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE), Santander Bank and Bank of America to facilitate financial literacy workshops and enroll 397 young people in direct deposit.
These successes would not be possible without the support of our partners. PYN is grateful for the City of Philadelphia Office of Children and Families, Philadelphia Works, City Council, the Summer Youth Employment Cabinet, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia as well as employers, corporations, foundations, individual donors and direct-service providers who supported work experiences for so many young people this summer.
“The City of Philadelphia has been a long-time supporter of summer jobs, and this year was no different. Through WorkReady, our out-of-school-time and #PlayItSafePHL initiatives, we are committed to ensuring that young people have access to high-quality and safe work experiences that set them on the path for future employment,” said Waleska Maldenado, Chief of Prevention, City of Philadelphia Office of Children and Families.
“Philadelphia Works serves multiple roles in the youth workforce system. We are proud investors, employers, and members of the Summer Youth Employment Cabinet. Each summer, we continue to invest in summer jobs, hire young people, and advocate for youth work experiences across the city because we know that these jobs are vitally important to our economic growth, local businesses, and the young people themselves,” said H. Patrick Clancy, president and CEO at Philadelphia Works.
"It is my pleasure to work diligently each summer to ensure that young people have opportunities to have a positive summer experience, begin their path towards a career, and determine what they want to do with their futures! Through the dedicated efforts of the Summer Youth Employment Cabinet, public and private partners across the city and with the support of Philadelphia City Council, we gave young people the opportunity to engage in summer jobs, try new things, test themselves, and exceed their own expectations,” said Sharmain Matlock-Turner, President and CEO, Urban Affairs Coalition and Co-Chair, Summer Youth Employment Cabinet.
“I have seen first-hand how supporting summer jobs through workforce development and education empowers youth, and we are looking forward to serving even more young people,” said Jim Dever, President, Bank of America Greater Philadelphia and Co-Chair of the Summer Youth Employment Cabinet. “To ensure that we can serve as many young people as possible next year, we invite everyone to deepen their commitment to summer jobs by supporting the Philly Summer Jobs Fund, offering young people employment opportunities or sponsoring a young person’s work experience for next year.”
“Despite challenges, pivots, and lessons learned, PYN’s network of trusted program partners, public and private investor, employers, foundations, corporations, organizations and individual donors came together to provide quality, safe and enriching opportunities for young people this summer,” said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, Philadelphia Youth Network’s President & CEO. “We could not achieve this work without partnership and talented young people. As we prepare for WorkReady Summer 2022, we know that our partners' commitment to summer youth employment will propel the program forward.”
To support WorkReady Summer via the Philly Summer Jobs Fund, visit https://www.pyninc.org/donate.
About the Philadelphia Youth Network
The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) creates education and employment opportunities for youth and young adults. We believe every young person deserves the chance to cultivate their talents and to achieve their dreams. To make more opportunities available to youth and young adults, we:
For more information, visit www.pyninc.org.
About WorkReady Philadelphia
WorkReady programs offer 12–24-year-olds in Philadelphia opportunities for workforce preparation. WorkReady School-Year opportunities are available by invitation only. WorkReady Summer programming runs between July and August each year. For many young people, work experiences are a critical first introduction to the world of work. WorkReady Summer offers 100+ different programs through 80+ partner organizations throughout Philadelphia. This summer, the program will offer safe in-person experiences for young people to gain valuable experience and develop critical skills. Each year, at least twice as many young people apply for the roughly 8,000 opportunities available. WorkReady partners and supporters are working to raise awareness and raise funds so that more young people can work this summer. WorkReady is managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN). For more information, visit www.workready.org.