Four thousand fewer teens will have gainful employment through the City of Chicago this summer, as federal stimulus dollars for a flagship city program have run out.
The "Youth Ready Chicago" program provided 18,000 jobs last summer to youths ages 14 to 21. About 3,700 of those jobs came from a last-minute injection of federal stimulus dollars.
With that federal money no longer in place, coupled with other lost revenues, the program will shrink to around 14,000 jobs this year. That's even after a boost of $1.6 million from the city's ever-diminishing kitty of revenues made from the sale of its parking meters, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Mayor Richard M. Daley asked businesses to help fill the gap, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We all know that most jobs are in the private sector, so today, again, I want to challenge and ask our business leaders to strengthen our efforts to provide jobs for young people, or opportunities or internships," he said at a news conference in the city's Pilsen neighborhood.
Summer jobs are seen as a vital tool in keeping gang violence down in the warmer months when crime is much more prevalent. "It totally makes a difference in the lives of these young people," Daley said, according to FOX Chicago. Also, with young people being among the most active consumers (and least likely to save), putting money in their pocket is generally seen as a boon to the economy.
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