Mayor Nutter Urges Businesses to Support Additional Jobs for Youth This Summer

Date: 
June 30, 2011

Mayor Michael A. Nutter joined Sharmain Matlock-Turner, President and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC), to urge the Philadelphia business community to support additional internships and jobs for youth this summer in response to the lack of employment opportunities available.

“When young people are engaged in productive work or internship opportunities during the summer months, it benefits the entire city,” said Mayor Nutter.  “The students become better prepared for the workforce or higher education, local businesses benefit from the goods and services these students purchase, and the corporate sector has a hand in growing the local workforce in preparation for their future hiring needs.  Today, I am calling on our partners in the business community to step up to the plate because this is the right thing to do for Philadelphia.”

 Every year, WorkReady Philadelphia programs provide summer jobs that enable young people from low-income families, ages 14 to 21, to learn about work, earn money and build their self-confidence. Last year, 36,000 youth applied for 11,800 jobs. This year, the city has less than half that amount of slots:  5,500 available summer jobs beginning July 5, with 14,500 completed applications.  

Sharmain Matlock-Turner, whose first job came when she was 13 years old picking peaches, said, “While there are not many opportunities to pick peaches in the City of Philadelphia, there are literally thousands of other job opportunities in the city for teenagers.  We cannot rest until we have reduced the number of teens who are now ‘waited listed’ for summer jobs due to lack of funding.” 

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) administers the WorkReady program on behalf of the City and a range of funders, including government and foundation grants, as well as significant private sector investments. As the largest subcontractor for PYN, the UAC hosted the Mayor and supporters for today’s announcement to encourage more businesses to make $1,000 donations to provide Philadelphia youth with meaningful work experiences this summer. 

Also present were two teens from Philadelphia, one with a job opportunity this summer and one who was denied the opportunity due to lack of funding.  Both made powerful cases for why the WorkReady program is vital to development of young people in the city.

 David Buckholtz, now 18, was placed in summer jobs by the UAC every summer since he was 14 years old. His first job site was at the Franklin Institute Science Museum. David’s relationship with the UAC has grown exponentially over the years: he was nominated for the Sun Life Financial Rising Star Scholarship and is now successfully working for Turner Construction.

 “The Urban Affairs Coalition has helped me move ahead in my life by giving me an opportunity I didn’t even think was possible, and then continuing to play a constant role by helping me to prepare for post-secondary education and professional job placement,” said Mr. Buckholtz.  “Now, I am headed to Pennsylvania State University and plan to major in Aerospace Engineering. My career goal is to be an aerospace engineer, and ultimately come back to Philadelphia and give back to my community.”

Demetrius Lacey has not been as fortunate in securing a summer work opportunity.  A recent graduate of Boys Latin Charter School with a GPA of 3.44, Lacey will be attending Slippery Rock University in the fall to study forensics.  He applied for a summer job this year, but learned that he is one of 509 applicants to the UAC program who were not selected because of lack of funds.

“Despite my excitement about working this summer and even though I am qualified for the program, I along with many others, were not chosen for the experience,” said Mr. Lacey.  “That is bad news for a lot of teens that have been denied this great experience.  Not only are we missing out on a little pocket money and a reason to take pride in our work, we are being deprived on an opportunity that would provide great exposure to all facets of the business world.”

After the teens spoke, $1,000 donations were given by Mayor Nutter, City Councilwoman Marian Tasco, Sharmain Matlock-Turner, Ross Associates, Inc., WES Management Services, CH2MHILL, Wells Fargo, PRWT Services, Inc., LMS Clothing Corp./Distante Philadelphia, Blackmon & Associates, and McKissack & McKissack, for a total of $12,000, with more contributions expected soon.

Currently, the UAC has processed 1,009 applications for 500 available slots this summer.   Darren Spielman, Vice-President for workforce development at PYN, noted that anyone can save a summer job for a teen by visiting www.SaveSummerJobs.org or by calling 267-502-3800 to learn more or to contribute.