The city of St. Louis is hoping to expand its summer-jobs program for low-income youth.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said she wants 1,000 people to participate in STL Youth Jobs this summer, up from about 740 last year — a goal she calls “ambitious” but “doable.”
“A summer job is an opportunity to learn workplace skills, financial literacy, and get on the path to a career,” Krewson said. “The pride in a job well done, or working and having your own money in your pocket, can be transformative.”
STL Youth Jobs places 16- to 24-year-olds from specific neighborhoods in St. Louis and St. Louis County in jobs at companies large and small across the region. In addition to a $9-an-hour salary, the participants get training in financial literacy and job skills like interviewing.
The program, which is free for the companies, is funded through a combination of public and private dollars. It costs $2,500 per participant. The city boosted its contribution this year to $750,000, but that still leaves $1.75 million to be raised.
Krewson said she hopes potential donors realize the benefits of a summer job for young people.
“I think it’s a deterrent to crime — that’s looking at this in the short term,” she said. “I think in the long term, it’s all about the opportunity to thrive for all of us, and having a job is key to that.”
SSM Health will hire about 30 STL Youth Jobs participants this year at three of its of its area hospitals, and also supports it financially. Thomas Levanos, who oversees the program at SSM St. Mary’s in Richmond Heights, said the companies benefit as much as the youth they hire.
“After we train them, they’re caring for patients, they’re providing value to patients that otherwise we wouldn’t be able to provide without that additional support from STL Youth Jobs,” Levanos said.
STL Youth Jobs is currently recruiting both employers and participants. More information is available at stlyouthjobs.org. The jobs start June 3.
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