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Mayor Lee Launches Youth Jobs + Initiative to Create Jobs for San Francisco Youth This Summer & Year-Round

Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the United Way of the Bay Area, along with City Departments and private sector employers, kicked off the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ 2016 initiative, challenging employers of both large and small companies to create jobs, internships and paid job training for San Francisco youth (ages 14-24 years old). Now in its fifth year, the initiative connects young people, particularly low-income and disconnected San Francisco youth with San Francisco employers so they can share in the City’s economic prosperity.

“Everyone remembers their first job and its impact on their lives,” said Mayor Lee. “That’s why Youth Jobs+ is so important; it is an investment in the success of San Francisco’s young people. We will continue to support programs that strengthen our youth workforce, especially for our low-income and disadvantaged youth. Once again, I am calling upon employers, in all business sectors, across San Francisco to join us in supporting the future of our young people by creating meaningful employment opportunities this summer and beyond. Providing a job today for a young person is an investment in the future of San Francisco.”

Jobs and internships provide valuable skill-building experience for young people while also enabling them to apply academic knowledge in “real-world” situations. For many students, an internship may be their first time in a business or office setting. The youth receive training and work exposure while learning about discipline and the connection between their education and their future careers— building the future workforce of the Bay Area and beyond.

United Way of the Bay Area is leading San Francisco’s effort in support of the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ Initiative along with Department of Children Youth and their Families (DCYF), Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).

“Mayor Lee’s vision for shared prosperity in San Francisco is enormously evident in the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ Initiative and its mission to provide opportunities to young people regardless of their zip code,” said United Way of the Bay Area Chief Executive Officer Anne Wilson. “United Way takes great pride in its role in connecting partners in business, nonprofit, and community organizations for the fifth year of this transformational program.”

In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a challenge to businesses, non-profits, and government: Work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth. More than 150 private sector employers including companies like Starbucks, Target, FibroGen, LinkedIn and Salesforce with over 60 nonprofits such as Glide Memorial, the Boys and Girls Club and the Hunters Point Family joined over 50 City agencies to provide San Francisco youth with exciting opportunities that offered valuable work experiences in office work, the arts, computer science, retail, banking, engineering, landscaping and in dozens of other fields.

“I want to start helping out my family economically,” said Maria Barrios, who attends Balboa High School and saw the volume of internships and jobs offered to students. Maria helps take care of her siblings while her parents work, and hopes to get a job working with kids in medicine or psychology. “It doesn’t matter how I start. If I begin in an entry level job, doing something that provides me with experiences and skills, it’s going to help me get something even better in the future.”

Many youth placed by the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ Initiative are from low-income families and face significant barriers. They are disconnected or at-risk youth, including those from the foster care system, the juvenile justice system, and those who do not have the right to work documents. The Transitional Aged Youth Initiative (TAYSF) estimates that almost 9,000 young adults are neither working nor enrolled in school. They estimate an additional 5,000 youth ages 14-24 are undocumented with little or no legal options for employment. Business and industry partners have strongly expressed their support for this initiative.

“Luminalt has proudly participated in the Mayor’s Youth Jobs + since its inception. It’s a winning combination. By participating, we invest in San Francisco youth who work hard and bring fresh perspective to Luminalt,” said Luminalt CEO Jeanine Cotter. “These youth develop new skills and leave their internship better prepared to contribute to our local economy. Everyone wins.”

“JPMorgan Chase is proud to work with Mayor Lee, the city of San Francisco and United Way of the Bay Area to help prepare our youth for the future,” said Region Manager for the JPMorgan Chase Middle Market Commercial Bank Region Manager Jim Wening. “The job training, summer internships and employment opportunities made possible today are all critical building blocks in the long-term success of the local economy.”

Companies from a range of industries have sponsored this public-private initiative, including JPMorgan Chase, PG&E (a founding partner), Starbucks, Bank of America (a founding partner), Enterprise and more. Financial contributions are used to subsidize internships and additional youth summer enrichment programs.

The Citi Foundation through Cities for Financial Empowerment has also stepped up with a $550,000 donation to the Department of Youth, Children, and their Families to fund the San Francisco “Summer Jobs Connect” Financial Empowerment Initiative. San Francisco is one of eight cities selected and the funding will help youth get bank accounts, set and reach savings goals and learn more about budgeting through their summer employment opportunities.

Employers or youth interested in participating or learning more about the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ Initiative, go to or call 3-1-1 or 2-1-1.