This June, 500 Kansas City students living East of Troost Avenue will have the chance to participate in summer employment and internship opportunities avail-able through the Working for Youth program.

 The program is a collaborative between Hire KC, Entrepreneurship KC, KC Common Good and other local youth organizations for students ages 14 to 18 to go through a work readiness program, explore career options and receive job training through internships.

 Students will work about 120 hours and have a chance at receiving class credit and up to a $1,200 stipend for participating in the program.

At a press conference announcing the program, Mayor Quinton Lucas said the program is targeting those youth most impacted by violent crime and challenges from the pandemic, many of whom live East of Troost Avenue. Lucas added that the mayor’s office will host internship opportunities through the program “This year in Kansas City is a particularly violent one,” Lucas said. “We need to do more to invest in our young people every day. 

”Working for Youth was modeled after a similar program in Omaha called Step Up, which began in 2008 to expand opportunities for historically marginalized youth in the area. Their work resulted in a 74% decrease in violent crime and a 27% increase in high school graduation rates.

“Young people need the opportunity to thrive, and we’re the key to their success. Together, we can ad-dress the root causes of violence to instill hope and ensure a successful future for every young person in the Kansas City region. There’s never been a more critical time to unite in support of the next generation,” said KC Common Good president Klassie Alcine.

 Whitney Bartelli with Community America Credit Union, said the internship program is a great step forward.

 “We all recognize the importance of tapping into more diverse and emerging talent pools that’s going to benefit the future of our city,” Bartelli said. “And we’re going to have a more inclusive workforce in the future because of it.”

 Community America Credit Union partners with Working for Youth by providing financial literacy training and bank accounts for participants, Working for Youth is still in need of funding, volunteers and employers. Those businesses located East of Troost are encouraged to participate, giving greater access to employment for students living in the area.

Employers can either provide an internship opportunity for students or financially sponsor an eight-week youth employment and mentorship opportunity at the cost of $2,000 per participant. Registration is now open for both employers and youth. To register or donate,

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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