Since YouthWorks’ inception in 1997, San Francisco City departments have sustained the program by generously supporting us in their annual budgets. In 2011-2012, twenty-three City departments provided financial support to our program.
This departmental funding has enabled YouthWorks to accomplish a significant track record, employing more than 4,500 youth over the past 14 years. During the current program year, we are providing over 300 youth with meaningful paid internships in City government, in which they are learning about careers in public service and building lifelong job readiness skills.
This type of opportunity is in great demand by San Francisco youth. On a recent YouthVote survey of almost 10,000 high school students, when asked what their top priority for a new extracurricular activity would be, 29% of respondents said “a job”, 12% said “an internship”, and 5% said “a job training program”. YouthWorks offers all of these elements to our participants. When this same group of youth was asked why they want to work, the top three reasons were: to earn money (48%), to develop job skills (22%), and to explore a career (17%). These are all central priorities of our program, too.
Our program definitely experiences this demand firsthand. We consistently receive far more applications than we can possibly hire for every session, and have to turn away large numbers of disappointed youth. For our summer session, we typically receive as many as 4 or more applications for every available position we have.
We are grateful to all of our participating departments for their financial support for our program, and welcome additional departmental support to continue to expand our program in the coming year. With continued City support, we can continue to help San Francisco meet the needs of its youth.