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Year-round youth employment program needed

San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper

For years The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint has met the summer season with a plea for summer jobs for our youth. The idea is more than 50 years old, when both business and Congress cared enough about youth to create a National Summer Jobs Program focused primarily on inner-city youth between the ages of 16 and 24.

For years the City of San Diego pushed this idea off on business and the Workforce Partnership, neither of which really cared about summer jobs for youth. The few jobs that did materialize came through schools and an application process that did not reach out to those who were not in school and therefore often missed a community most in need.

This newspaper has continually pushed for a year round youth employment program much like CETA (the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) offered through the NYC (Neighborhood Youth Corp).

Well, Mayor Todd Gloria has made this idea a reality for the City of San Diego with more than 1000 jobs available in city agencies for young people between the ages of 16 and 30. The city’s Employ and Empower Program has already provided jobs to a few hundred youth under a grant received from the state, with more jobs to be filled.

The key for those looking for jobs is to go online to the city’s Human Resources website, where a host of jobs, and some in career areas, is available.

Remember, the City not only has a large number of vacancies, but recently held a job fair to fill as many jobs as possible. Mayor Gloria has done what none of his predecessors bothered to do: create an employment policy for the city that includes and provides opportunities for our youth between the ages of 16 and 30.

In addition to the jobs, SANDAG has provided the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) with a grant that will give free public transportation to those 18 years of age and younger, making it possible to get to a job without spending what one earns on transportation.

No longer will the city have to pretend to depend on the Workforce Partnership from outside of the city government that should have been a product of city policy from the very beginning. With the new Diversity and Inclusion Office looking at all city departments, as the mayor is requiring, there should be a rush to all city councilmembers’ offices to provide assistance and recommendations to claiming those jobs that are available.

Remember, often one has not, because one asks not.

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