Citing gun violence, DC leaders urge young people to join jobs program

With gun violence among teenagers on the rise in the District, local leaders encouraged young people to join the city’s jobs program in order to find a positive way to spend their time.

The program began accepting applications Monday for people between the ages of 14 to 24. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Feb. 28.

“Everybody knows that keeping a person occupied is one way to keep them out of trouble,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Letting them earn money is another way to keep them out of trouble.”

Orientation for the program begins Monday, June 26, and the program ends Friday, Aug. 4.

Bowser said those who join are “surrounded by positive adults who are doing the right thing.”

Through the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, thousands of young people are paired with hundreds of employers, so they can receive training and guidance.

The idea is to help them develop positive work habits and skills they can use to secure future employment.

“You don’t get turned away because you haven’t been perfect at school,” Bowser said.

Those interested can apply at the program’s website.

“You’ve got to go online and complete your application, so please do not forget that,” said Unique Morris-Hughes, director of D.C.’s employment services department.

After being largely virtual during the pandemic, the program is getting back to normal this summer.

About 90% of the jobs offered through the program are expected to be in-person, and wages for the oldest age group will be set around $17 per hour.

More than 13,000 people participated last year.

Morris-Hughes said the program “gives youth the tools and support they need to become the District’s future business leaders.”

In addition to encouraging young people to apply, D.C. leaders also called on local employers to partner with the city to host participants.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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