News Article

PYN News Article

WorkReady Summer 2012 kicks off! Over 5,600 youth learn and earn through this summer's programs

Youth will work at more than 780 worksites across the city

Category: WorkReady | Jul 2, 2012

Philadelphia – Thousands of eager and talented youth began their summer jobs today through WorkReady Philadelphia Summer 2012 programs. The summer programs, which aim to prepare youth ages 14-21 for career success through work-based learning opportunities, will run from July 2 through August 10. WorkReady is managed by Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) on behalf of the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, a committee of Philadelphia Works, Inc. PYN works with over 50 organizations to operate WorkReady programs across the city.

Young people have been matched to jobs based on their age and work experience, as well as interests and skills. Youth are working in a variety of environments, including jobs in the community, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and corporate settings. This summer, youth jobs represent 18 industries.

Brianna Cunningham, 18, worked at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in 2010 and is working there again this summer. In 2010, she rotated in various departments, including Clinic, Volunteer, Administrative, X-Ray, and Surgery. “My WorkReady internship at CTCA allowed me to explore different careers in the healthcare industry. I’ve built relationships with the doctors, nurses, and other staff members, which I know will be valuable as I work toward my goal of becoming a Pediatrician. I’m excited about being back this summer.”  Brianna’s experience represents the high-quality workforce development that all youth receive while participating in WorkReady programs.

Due to significant cuts in federal funding, initial estimates suggested that less than 5,000 young people would work this summer through WorkReady Philadelphia. The Save Summer Jobs campaign was launched in March in response to the crisis in summer employment opportunities for youth. Since then, employers, foundations, and government agencies have stepped up to allow the program to serve more than 5,600 youth. To-date, employers have committed to hiring or sponsoring over 1,100 youth this summer. There have also been major contributions to WorkReady summer jobs from a number of foundations, including donations from The Philadelphia Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, the Walmart Foundation, and long-time supporter, the William Penn foundation. Despite such support, there are still close to 14,000 youth who applied for a summer job, but will not work because there are not enough positions available.

“Young people want to work. The evidence of that is seen in not only the number that are able to work each year, but also in the amount that remain on the waiting list. It’s in our collective best interest to do all we can to put young people to work, because the benefits of summer jobs to youth extend beyond the money that they earn. Summer jobs are an opportunity for them to learn about careers they never knew existed and to be connected to local professionals. They also are a way to begin to prepare our region’s future workforce,” said Stacy E. Holland, PYN’s President and CEO.

Anthony S. Bartolomeo, President and CEO of Pennoni Associates Inc., as well as the Employer Chair of the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, echoed WorkReady’s value to both youth and the economic success of the area in the years to come: “Exposing these students to the workplace and getting them interested in our professions helps us to create a pipeline of future talent.  In addition, summer jobs through WorkReady provide youth with access to networks of caring employers who can serve as resources to young people as they continue through their education and into careers.”

WorkReady Summer 2012 programs will culminate with the WorkReady Summer Expo, an event that celebrates the accomplishments of youth and the outstanding projects they created during their six-week work experience. The Expo will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday, August 9.

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