Youth in SF Consistently Choose Employment as Highest Priority Need

This blog was posted to Youth Employment in San Francisco on March 31, 2011.

Youth in San Francisco have consistently voiced their desire for employment and have unwaveringly stated that jobs and internships are their top choice as an after-school activity. Each year, the YouthVote Student Survey is administered to over 8,000 San Francisco high school students in hopes of informing San Francisco policymakers, SFUSD, service providers, and advocates in their planning and decision-making. The results of the most recent Fall 2010 survey were consistent with the past several years as job skills training, internships and employment is always at the top of students’ list of requests. 51.5% of the students chose “Job Training/Internships” as the program or activity they would most like to participate in. The survey also highlighted the fact that only 14.8% of students surveyed currently have a job/internship.

Last Wednesday, over 75 San Francisco youth participated in a Youth Employment Forum hosted by the Workforce Investment Community Advisory Committee (WICAC). Youth spoke about why youth employment is important to them, what barriers they have to youth employment, and what kind of changes they would like to see in the workforce system. Many different opinions were voiced but a consistent message was clear: employment is something that youth want and need.

The San Francisco Department of Children, Youth & Their Families (DCYF) issues a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) every three years as part of their 3-year planning cycle. The most recent CNA, released in 2008, reported that all neighborhoods requested more employment and job training opportunities for youth. Current participants in employment programs specifically identified having a job as a preventative intervention for risk-taking behaviors.

The Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) and San Francisco YouthWorks turn away over two-thirds of their summer intern applicants each year. The demand for youth employment is as strong as ever but the number of available jobs not only has failed to rise to meet the demand but continues to decline.