How STL Youth Jobs connects young people with employers in growing industries
Students across the region are starting to line up interviews for summer internships and jobs. While many will apply for hourly retail gigs or shifts at fast food joints, local non-profit STL Youth Jobs hopes to get young people, from age 14 to 24, onto career paths.
Founded in 2012, STL Youth Jobs seeks to prepare a new generation of workers with soft-skills, like how to perform well in a job interview, and hard skills, like knowing safety regulations of specific industries. Since the first group of “job seekers,” The organization has gone from finding employment in health care, retail, food and media industries for 200 area youth in 2013 — to 800 in 2019.
In its first 10 years, the career readiness organization worked to build relationships with local businesses and organizations ready and willing to employ youth. Lindsey Forsythe, director of employer relations at STL Youth Jobs, told St. Louis on the Air she and her staff saw a change in industry interest since COVID-19 closed down the country. “We saw a big increase in interest among job seekers in senior care and animal care,” she said. “We try to make sure that we're connecting jobseekers not only to jobs that will help them learn to become professionals, but that are related to something that they're really interested in doing.”
Janae King participated in STL Youth Jobs when she was a teen. She’s now the employer relations manager at STL Youth Jobs. She said young people sometimes need the right amount of encouragement to apply for more than a summer job. “[I worked with] a young man, and he was interested in construction. He was 24 years old, and he just had a baby. I paired him with one of our construction work sites,” King said. “He was there the whole summer. He showed up every day and did what he needed to do. He actually got hired on [full-time] for a way higher rate from what we pay. And he's still there to this day.”
STL Youth Jobs is currently seeking applicants for the summer.
For more on STL Youth Jobs and the ways the region benefits from having young people employed in skilled jobs, listen to St. Louis on the Air on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast or Stitcher, or click the play button below.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.