(Washington, DC) – Today, the White House announced that Washington, DC was selected as a Summer Impact Hub, part of President Barack Obama’s Summer Opportunity Project. This effort, led locally by the Workforce Investment Council (WIC), will expand access to opportunities this summer and beyond through the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP).
“Summer jobs ensure that more of our young people get the fair shot they deserve,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “I am committed to investing in our young people to ensure they have the skills and experience needed to jump start a career. I want to thank President Obama for his commitment to summer jobs for District residents and young people across the country.”
Earlier today, the White House announced the Summer Opportunity Project, an inter-agency effort to provide tailored support to 16 communities to upgrade and expand jobs, learning, meals, and violence reduction programs for young people this summer and year-round. The District of Columbia was chosen by the White House to be a Summer Impact Hub and will receive a Federal “Summer Ambassador” who will spend the spring and summer partnering with our team to expand opportunity by leveraging Federal resources, breaking down agency siloes, and building new partnerships.
The Obama Administration is also enlisting the support of companies, philanthropies, and federal agencies to create more opportunities for young people in Summer Impact Hub communities. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing free meals, while the Department of Education is offering technical assistance through its Summer Opportunity iForums webinars. Additionally, the Department of Treasury is offering information on financial education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development is enlisting the help of its network of 4,000 Public Housing Authorities.
“We are thrilled to be a part of President Obama’s Summer Opportunity Project,” said Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney R. Snowden. “For 37 years, MBSYEP has given thousands of Washingtonians their first job, providing opportunity for many young people who otherwise would go without. Being selected as a Summer Impact Hub will allow the District to strengthen MBSYEP and extend its reach further into the private sector.”
MBSYEP is a locally funded program that provides District youth ages 14 to 24 with high-quality work experience. Mayor Bowser fought to expand the program up to age 24 so that more District residents could have access to a first job, putting more young people on the pathway to the middle class. MBSYEP serves youth from across the District of Columbia but has its greatest impact in the city’s historically overlooked and underserved communities. In 2015, 57% of participants came from Ward 7 and 8, where the unemployment rate and opportunity gap are the highest.
The Summer Opportunity Project will allow the Bowser Administration to:
- Connect more youth with high-quality work experience and professional development in the summer;
- Increase private sector involvement in MBSYEP;
- Ensure work experience is aligned with participants’ future career goals; and
- Continue promoting the WIC’s goal of connecting more youth to federally-funded year-round employment programs.
Additionally, as a part of this initiative, the WIC and LinkedIn are recruiting small and medium-sized businesses to increase private-sector employers in MBSYEP. This partnership called DC Summer Link has already identified more than 130 interested businesses to host dozens of disconnected youth. DC Summer Link expects to increase the number of opportunities available in the coming weeks.