Governor Deval Patrick today announced a $12 million investment in the successful YouthWorks Summer Jobs Program as part of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget proposal. The investment is a $3 million increase over the FY14 budget, and will provide youth across the Commonwealth with opportunities to gain valuable work experience while simultaneously building stronger and safer communities.
"These jobs are essential to providing our Commonwealth's at-risk youth with a better opportunity for a brighter future, while reducing youth violence across the Commonwealth," said Governor Patrick. "I look forward to working with our partners to ensure that YouthWorks remains fully funded this summer, so we can continue our commitment to the next generation."
The proposal underscores Governor Patrick's continued investment in the YouthWorks Program, a summer jobs program that provides subsidized employment to low-income and at-risk youth ages 14-21 in 31 communities across the Commonwealth. These employment opportunities provide youth with job experience, beneficial career skills and a chance to give back to their communities.
Since Governor Patrick took office, the YouthWorks program has grown from $4.7 million in the summer of 2007 to $10M million in the summer of 2013. Funding for the program is managed by the Commonwealth Corporation under the direction of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. This year's proposed funding would be the largest investment in the program's history.
The summer of 2014 marks the first summer in the last three years the Youthworks program will be forward funded, thanks to efforts last spring by the Patrick Administration and the Legislature to allocate additional funding for the program before the Fiscal Year begins on July 1. The Governor's current proposal for a $12 million investment continues this trend of fiscally responsible funding for the program, and will ensure that youth will have the same opportunities during the summer of 2015.
Last summer, 5,175 young people in 31 cities in Massachusetts successfully completed summer employment opportunities. Youth were employed at diverse sites ranging from the Gateway City Arts Program in Holyoke to veterinary assistants in Worcester and Teen Curators who gave historical walking tours in Boston's South End neighborhood. An investment of $12 million for FY15 is projected to serve nearly 6,000 at-risk youths.
Additionally, to support efforts to engage and support youth throughout the Commonwealth, the Patrick Administration will preserve funding for YouthBuild at $2 million and maintain its support for the School to Career Connective Activities program at $2.7 million. YouthBuild specifically aims to reach low-income students to improve education, job training, leadership development, and community services. School to Career Connecting Activities establishes public-private partnerships to connect schools and businesses and provide structured work-based learning experiences for students.