Why Summer Jobs for Youth Matter

A study by Brookings states that having a job as a teenager (ages 16 to 18) predicts a higher liklihood of having a quality job (including higher wages) in adulthood. Missing out on an early work experience can have long-term negative effects on

future employment and lifetime earnings. But not all youth have access to jobs in their teen and early adult years with low income youth of color least likely to secure any type of employment.

There are over 29,000 young people in the Portland-Vancouver Metro region who are not in school or working (called opportunity youth) - a statistic with dire economic and social consequences. This accounts for more than 11 percent of all youth in the region. The population of young people not in school nor working is becoming more diverse. In 2014, 30 percent of opportunity youth were people of color and that share rose to 42 percent in 2016.

Summer jobs help teens develop the basic building blocks they need in order to get their next job and launch their career. ~JP Morgan Chase report

SummerWorks Youth Employment Program

Putting young people to work is more than a paycheck. There is no better place to learn the skills necessary to be successful at work than work itself. Youth who work are more likely to return to school, have a job in subsequent years, and earn more money over the course of their lives. They are also less likely to engage in crime and other high-risk behaviors.

How the program works:

It's simple! A sponsorship of $2,500 covers all the wages and other employment costs for a 180-hour work experience for a youth. Worksystems funds work readiness training for all youth participants and pays all the costs associated with screening and matching youth to job sites, job coaching throughout the work experience, and employer-of-record services. Youth show up ready to do real work.

"I got a job that was out of my comfort zone , but I ended up gaining a lot of new skills and loving it."  Dacha K, summer intern, Linnton Community Center

In 2017, 2,581 youth applied to the program with 1,283 completing mandatory work readiness training and of that group, 1,127 were placed in a summer job. The demand for this program greatly outpaces the funding that we have. To sponsor a youth or for more information on this program, contact Roland Chlapowski.

2017 SummerWorks youth survey results:

  • 82% of youth completed their work experience and received a positive evaluation from their supervisor.
  • 91% of participating youth would recommend the program to a friend.
  • 83% of youth returned to high school, post-secondary school, or became employed.
  • 80% of program participants were youth of color.

Last year, 1,127 youth got jobs through SummerWorks.