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Mayor Lee Youth Jobs+ Initiative Creates Thousands of Jobs for San Francisco Youth

Public and Private Partnership Connects At-Risk Young Residents With Jobs and Paid Internships

Mayor Edwin M. Lee, the United Way Bay Area, San Francisco City Departments and private sector employers kicked off the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ 2017 initiative today. This program challenges employers of both large and small companies to create jobs, internships and paid job training for San Francisco residents. Today’s event at the Green Room of the War Memorial resulted in more than 6,100 on-the-spot pledged jobs for local youths, closing in on the program’s ongoing goal of 7,000 jobs.

“Hiring a youth today represents an investment in our future,” said Mayor Lee. “Every young person who lives in San Francisco should have an opportunity and access to a job. Youth Jobs+ strengthens our City and neighborhood communities, especially for our low-income and disadvantaged youth. Today, I called 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.”

Now in its sixth year, the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ has provided more than 35,000 young people (ages 14 – 24) with jobs from local employers. These 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.

United Way 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), the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).

“United Way Bay Area and our Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ partners are committed to the future of our young people, and the future of our great city,” said Anne Wilson, CEO of United Way Bay Area. “We believe that opportunity should not be based on a young person’s zip code and we know that the foundation for future success begins now. Together we can create real change.”

Since 2012, San Francisco has challenged businesses, nonprofits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for the city’s youth population. More than 150 private sector employers, including companies like Starbucks, Target, FibroGen, LinkedIn and Salesforce, take part in the program. They partner with some 60 nonprofit groups, such as Glide Memorial, the Boys and Girls Club and the Hunters Point Family, and more than 50 City agencies to provide San Francisco youth with exciting jobs opportunities. The work experience includes the arts, computer science, retail, banking, engineering, landscaping and dozens of other fields.

“As a non-profit working to expand the tech pipeline by on-ramping women with kids to technical careers, we were thrilled to provide Tessa, a young women interested in pursuing a career in computer science, with the opportunity to be on the front lines tackling the problem with us,” said Tina Lee, Founder of Mother Coders.  “Tessa not only brought enthusiasm and a can-do attitude to our class, she found a way to contribute her own coding skills toward a meaningful purpose—empowering moms looking to advance toward technical careers so they can achieve economic security for their families”

Many youth placed by the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ Initiative are from low-income and immigrant families who face significant barriers. Some are disconnected or at-risk youth, including those from the foster care system and the juvenile justice system. The Transitional Aged Youth initiative (TAYSF) estimates that almost 9,000 young adults are neither working nor enrolled in school. They project an additional 5,000 youth are undocumented with little or no legal options for employment. Business and industry partners have strongly expressed their support for this initiative.

“Five years ago, I was struggling to complete high school due to personal reasons and the need to make money to support my family,” said Jose Lopez. “I left school when I was 18 and worked for the next four years in low paying jobs. I learned about the Success Center SF, and I was able to get into the Code Ramp course. I enjoyed coding so much that I took a Hackreactor Prep course, and after that, the Emerging Media Makers Graphic Design and coding course with Bay Area Video Coalition.  I also went back to high school at the Early Morning Studies Academy at Success Center SF, and quickly earned my GED—all because someone gave me a chance.”

“A summer job is not only an opportunity to secure a first-time paycheck but also a teachable moment for young people to acquire the workplace and leadership skills that are the foundation for career success,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “Over the past three years, we’ve seen the transformative impact a summer job can have on young people and are proud to continue our collaboration with Mayor Lee and the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund in 2017 to help more San Francisco youth gain meaningful summer employment.”

“A first job is often the catalyst a young person needs to set them on the path to a brighter future,” said Jeremy West, Chase Business Banking Market Manager in San Francisco. “JPMorgan Chase supports Youth Jobs+ because we believe that our Bay Area youth deserve opportunities, regardless of their neighborhood or background. Since its inception, this program has helped more than 34,000 young people to imagine a future they may never have thought possible. We’re honored to be a part of that work.”

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), Gilead, LinkedIn, Salesforce and more. Financial contributions are used to subsidize internships and additional youth summer enrichment programs.

The Citi Foundation has also stepped in with a $535,000 donation to DCYF to fund the San Francisco “Summer Jobs Connect” Financial Empowerment Initiative. San Francisco is one of ten 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.