MSV Committed to Employing Local Teens This Summer
While overall employment rates in the United States have steadily increased since the 2008 recession, teen summer employment has not recovered from the economic turmoil of the early 2000s. Throughout the 1990s, the U.S. employment rate for 16-19-year-olds during the months of June, July, and August was around 50%. After the 2001 recession, this rate decreased and continued to fall during the 2008 recession. By 2011, 30% of teens were employed in the summer and that number only reached 35% in 2017.
This low rate of young Americans working in the summer is especially apparent in cities where jobs are not always accessible in certain communities. According to a report by the UIC Great Cities Initiative, “Community Areas in Chicago with high rates of joblessness are the same ones that have the fewest number of jobs accessible within walking distance or a 30-minute commute time on public transit.” In these terms, that includes residents of neighborhoods like East Garfield Park, which sits just over 30 minutes west by train or bus, from The Loop, seen as Chicago’s city center and a dense concentration of offices and businesses that provide jobs to many.
Marillac St. Vincent has operated on the west side of Chicago in East Garfield Park for over 100 years, providing services like affordable early childhood education programs, computer lab access, after-school youth programs, and a client-choice food pantry. MSV also provides jobs to people who live nearby, mostly to youth from the neighborhood. Summer is a particularly busy time for youth employment at MSV, when teens are out of school for three months. Since 2000, youth programs in Cook County have been cut, “including national summer employment programs that have provided opportunities to at least 650,000 youth to build their job experience.” While these summer programs decrease, MSV has committed to increasing its impact on young people. This summer, MSV will employ over 120 teens, ages 14-19, through 5 different programs.
Marillac St. Vincent will employ over 120 teens through 5 distinct programs this summer.
Chicago’s mayor Lori Lightfoot recently announced her program “Summer for Change” that provides one-on-one mentoring and group trauma-informed therapy to 400 teens “most likely to be impacted by gun violence” in the city. Lightfoot said of this new program, “We just want to give our young people opportunities to connect up with good, safe alternatives. We’re gonna put a little money in their pocket... And really create a plan and nurture that seed of hope and optimism that is so critically important to make sure that our young people are safe.” While Marillac’s summer programs are not a part of the Mayor’s initiative, MSV shares its values and will be independently hosting over a quarter of the number of teens in Summer for Change at our East Garfield Park center.
The After School Matters Connection
MSV and After School Matters (ASM) will continue their strong partnership this summer with 3 programs housed at MSV’s Foglia Center. ASM provides Chicago high schoolers with high-quality after-school and summer program opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for college, careers, and beyond. The after-school fine arts ASM program will continue into the summer with 30 teen workers.
ASM will also host a 6-week photography class for 20 teens at the Foglia Center. All participants will earn a stipend, which ASM has found lowers barriers to participation, reinforces the importance of hard work, and can make a positive economic impact on teens, their families, and their communities.
Noah’s Arc Foundation in partnership with ASM will employ 30 more teens in their art program. Their goal is to help young people develop confidence and “tap into their unique passions and achieve their full potential in all areas.” It’s also an opportunity for a teen to tell their friends, “I’m going to work today” and to receive a paycheck for the time they spend in the program.
Building Leaders with Chicagobility
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will host a program for 30 teens at MSV in their Chicagobility model which is a web-based early job skills training specifically designed for 14-15 year-olds. Chicagobility participants earn badges across all key work readiness indicators including 21st Century skills, career readiness, goal planning, attendance, and financial responsibility to help them gain employment in the future. The program lasts 6 weeks, and every teen will receive 3 paychecks for their participation.
Employees as Role Models
MSV will also continue to hire Youth Mentors that work with Hope Junior, MSV’s after school and summer neighborhood program. This year, 18 youth mentors will lead programs, set up for events at the Foglia Center, and serve as role models to younger kids.
This summer, Marillac St. Vincent will proudly employ more young people than ever, providing a first job experience to many teens. Every partnership and program has been designed to give teens the best chance at success in higher education and the workforce later in life. By providing a productive and safe space for youth to explore their interests and gain confidence, MSV is investing in the future of great leaders in East Garfield Park and Chicago.
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