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Mayor Johnson expressed his enthusiasm for the data from this summer. "The data from this summer is an encouraging start and a tremendous step forward for youth in our city," he said. "My administration is committed to investing in our young people, and I am pleased that we were able to reach over 24,000 of them in the first few months of my administration. In the years ahead, we will continue bringing together our City partners, business partners, community organizations, faith labor and all other stakeholders to significantly expand these programs to create pathways for our young people to thrive during the summer and beyond."
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The OSC program consists of three interconnected programs: The Chicago Youth Service Corps (CYSC), Chicagobility and Summer Youth Employment Program. The CYSC employs youth ages 16-24 year-round through programming focused on leadership development and local/civic engagement; Chicagobility employs youth ages 14-15 through project-based learning and skill-building experiences; while the Summer Youth Employment Program employs youth ages 16-24 through job placement or training programs to provide work experiences and develop skills for career pathways.
Of those engaged in this summer's programs 1,771 had disabilities; 13,903 were attending Level 2 or 3 schools or Option schools; 2,698 were English as a Second Language Learners; 755 were experiencing homelessness or unstably housed; 233 were in foster care; 219 were justice involved; and 2,494 were out of school and out of work. Across all OSC partners youth completed 2.43 million hours of work experience and project-based learning earning over $33.9 million in wages.
Deputy Mayor Jen Johnson commented on their success saying "We are proud that we have been able to effectively partner with our community organizations corporate partners and sister agencies to provide tens of thousands of young people valuable paid work experience this summer." She added "These young people are leaders in their communities and we look forward to working in partnership with them to expand work opportunities moving forward."
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The My CHI My Future Safe Spaces for Youth program includes both community events called "Kickbacks" as well as year round youth employment opportunities. Kickback events strengthen healthy community ecosystems for young people (ages 13-19) as well as their families across the city by providing enriching out-of school time activities while providing youth (ages 16-24) an opportunity to gain work experience while planning implementing community events throughout the year. In 2023 225 youth were employed through MCMF putting together 110 Kickback events which were attended by over 14000 youth and community members.
The Johnson administration further engaged with youth by expanding its Mayor's Youth Commission from 32 members last year up 40 members this year ranging from ages 14 - 19 years old with their first monthly meeting taking place at City Hall on September 9th 2023
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