BOSTON – Today, Councilors Andrea Campbell, Kim Janey, and Julia Mejia called on the City of Boston to explore new models of delivering and expanding youth jobs, with an emphasis on summer jobs, in order to support young people and prevent a rise in youth violence amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The order calls for a hearing to discuss the City’s plans for the SuccessLink Youth Employment Program, among other youth jobs programs, and how these programs might be expanded and adjusted to meet the requirements of the stay-at-home advisory and any future health guidelines.
“Thousands of young people in our City count on summer jobs to provide structure, mentorship, and income during the summer months which can be unsafe and difficult for so many. Though we don’t know yet what the summer will look like, we must prepare for things to be different, and how youth can still have employment opportunities if typical summer camps and other programs are unable to open,” said Councilor Campbell. “I don’t want our young people to miss out on these valuable experiences, and I certainly don’t want this pandemic to put them at risk for neighborhood violence or other criminal activity.”
While Boston has seen a significant decline in overall crime this year, in certain neighborhoods including Dorchester and Roxbury, there has been an uptick in shootings compared to this time in 2019. In the last two weeks, three people under the age of eighteen have been shot, one fatally.
“So often we fail to lift up those who are left behind and we absolutely cannot allow our future leaders to fall through the cracks during this pandemic. Summer youth employment opportunities and programming are critical to the development of a student and prepares them not only for the academic work ahead in their BPS careers, but also beyond in college and their professional careers,” said Councilor Janey. “My hope is that we are able to reassess our programs and find ways to adapt our summer youth employment programs to this new normal and how we may be able to increase the City’s offerings year-round. These job programs are absolutely critical as they create meaningful ways for our youth to contribute to society and have been shown to decrease the amount of youth-involved crime.”
“I am so proud to be co-sponsoring this hearing order with Councilors Campbell and Janey,” said Councilor Mejia. “As we start looking towards a post-pandemic world, we need to ensure that we are providing resources right now for our youth. We need to examine how we can expand work opportunities when so many young people, and their families, rely on youth jobs as a source of income. With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are at risk of losing or severely reducing the number of opportunities our young people have to find work in our city. We need this hearing so that we can find new, creative ways to adjust to this new normal we find ourselves in. Now more than ever, we need to recognize that our youth are the future — we must help them achieve equitable education and employment opportunities, especially during these uncertain and unprecedented times. At the end of the day, our youth know more about what they need so we should be following their advice and their examples when having this conversation.”
Councilors Campbell, Janey, and Mejia all participated in youth summer jobs programs through PIC or ABCD while growing up in Boston.
The hearing order was referred to the Committee on Strong Women, Families, and Communities for a hearing to be scheduled soon.
Office of Andrea J. Campbell, Boston City Councilor, District 4
One City Hall Plaza, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02201