YouthWorks Joins Meeting with DOL Secretary Solis and Mayor Lee

On Tuesday July 24th, a group of people involved in summer youth employment were invited to attend an important meeting at San Francisco City Hall. Attending this meeting were US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Mayor Ed Lee and SF Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza. All three individuals emphasized how strongly they feel about the importance of youth jobs.

Andrew Wu, a former YouthWorks intern, attended this event as a representative of our program and had this to say about it:

“The conference with the US Secretary of Labor was my proudest moment in my professional life. It was very exciting and a great learning experience. There were representatives from businesses such as Facebook, Starbucks and LinkedIn and they all joined the table along with the youth interns that they hired for the summer. It was interesting to hear what these private sector young workers had to say about their experience. These were students who work part time to support their education and they talked about the skills that they take away from working, as well as what their long term goals were.

I worked as an intern for SF YouthWorks, and that was what I attended this conference to represent. I was there to let these people know that the non-profit sector plays an extremely critical role in hiring young people and making sure they have jobs. I talked about my experience working at the Public Defender’s Office and how it led to my decision to one day practice law. I talked about what my goals are and what I plan to do to achieve them.”

“It felt good to talk about these things in front of the cameras and our leaders. They need to know that jobs are important in the lives of young people. They made the initiative earlier this year to make sure we all have jobs and now, and they need to know that it still matters and we appreciate them for it. In April, Ed Lee promised to create 5000 jobs for young people in the Bay Area this summer. Today, with the collaboration of the private sector, City departments, and non-profits, he created 5002 jobs and counting. That is something to celebrate about and young people who have jobs are evidence that our leaders are doing a good job. US Secretary of Labor Solis and Mayor Lee were very eager to hear what I and other youth had to say. I really hope that they continue to create jobs for us and improve the community.”

Betsy Merzenich, Director of SF YouthWorks also attended the meeting. She says:

“It felt great to be at the table with all of these amazing youth, employers, providers and leaders. I enjoyed hearing Mayor Lee’s story about the conference of Mayors meeting with Barack Obama in the spring, when the President challenged urban mayors to be bold in creating jobs for young people in their cities this summer. Mayor Lee also spoke about City departments leading the way with efforts to create the first jobs, and I felt proud to think that YouthWorks had played a part in that effort.”

“When Secretary Solis spoke, I was impressed by her remarks about the need for new job training models, the role of the private sector, and the unique accomplishments in San Francisco this summer in creating youth jobs. She was very interested in hearing from the youth at the table, and listened intently to their comments. I was proud of Giovanni Rojas and Andrew Wu for representing our program so well with their insightful and clear comments.”

“San Francisco should be proud of what it accomplished this summer by bringing together the public sector, community based organizations and the private sector. This is a great City to create new models for youth training and employment, and YouthWorks looks forward to being a part of these ongoing efforts!”

Blog written by Administrative Assistant Andrew Wu and Program Director Betsy Merzenich