Summer Jobs Program for At-Risk Youth (YouthWorks)

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

YouthWorks (formerly Summer Jobs for At-Risk Youth) is a summer and year-round jobs program for low-income and at-risk youth. Administered by the Commonwealth Corporation, YouthWorks provides job training and direct employment opportunities so that young people can explore new careers.

YouthWorks subsidizes jobs with public, private, and non-profit employers for teens and young adults in cities with the highest number of youth in poverty. Participants typically work between 20 and 30 hours per week during the summer and/or year-round, depending on the program. Additionally, the youth must participate between 15 and 20 hours of job readiness training with a new state-mandated curriculum, Signaling Success. The curriculum focuses on key soft skills most sought by employers, particularly collaboration, dependability, and initiative.

Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public state agency within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, administers YouthWorks. Each year, Commonwealth Corporation sets an annual goal to serve teens and young adults who are court-involved, in foster care, or who are homeless. As part of a multi-faceted strategy for eliminating youth violence, YouthWorks serves teens and young adults living in targeted, high-risk cities across the Commonwealth. In the summer of 2015, YouthWorks provided 4,489 youth with employment across 31 cities in the state.

Funding is distributed through the state’s 16 Workforce Investment Boards (comprised of business, government, education, labor, and community leaders) and legislation requires a $500,000 private sector match. Tracking funding changes for this program can be complicated as the Legislature often allows funding budgeted in one fiscal year to be spent in the next.

Updated January 2017

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