WCAC is abuzz with activity this summer as the Youth Works Summer Jobs program kicks into high gear. This month and next our staff will coordinate placement of 375 youth in jobs throughout the City. A special welcome to Rute Vales who just joined our team as our new Youth Employment Coordinator.
According to the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July 2020 there were 1.9 million more unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds than in July 2019. There continue to be dramatic disparities in employment rates, especially among minority youth. The July 2020 unemployment rates for young men (18.4 percent), women (18.6 percent), Whites (16.7 percent), Blacks (25.4 percent), Asians (25.4 percent), and Hispanics (21.7 percent) were all substantially higher than in the prior summer. Our YouthWorks program is working to address these disparities by prioritizing young people who face a variety of barriers to employment. We are excited to be getting our young people back to in-person work this summer and we are grateful to our many employment partners for working with us to provide young people with real world work experiences across an array of industries.
I’m sure we can all remember our first jobs. We learned, we stumbled, and perhaps we found interest in a career path or a long-term connection to a mentor. As employers are seeking workers with certain skills or experience, young people are looking for their first chance to learn... and to earn. The connections, mentors, skills, and the positive support our youth will encounter this summer can truly be transformative. 
If you see one of our YouthWorks employees working in one of the 55 worksites across the city this summer, make sure to say hi! You never know where a connection may lead! If you are interested in becoming an employer partner, please make sure to reach us in our Job and Education Center at 508-762-9853.