From left, City Councilman Bobby Henon, Urban Affairs Coalition President Sharmain Matlock Turner, and Mayor Michael Nutter all made calls to local business owners on Monday to encourage them to participate in the city's Summer Jobs Challenge, a six-week long summer job program for youths aged 14-21, along with Philadelphia Youth Network President and CEO Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend (not pictured). Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro
The mayor and other officials worked the phones for an hour on Monday afternoon in a fundraising call-a-thon to push for investment from businesses in WorkReady Philadelphia, which connects local youth to summer jobs.
The result, according to Emily Gowen of the Mayor's Fund for Philadelphia: 100 new jobs.
"If one hour can produce 100 jobs, just imagine what we can do if we continue to work together to get the word out to as many businesses as possible," asked Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, which operates the WorkReady summer jobs program. "It's just $1700 for one youth's summer experience."
Fulmore-Townsend, along with Mayor Nutter, City Councilman Bobby Henon and Urban Affairs Coalition president Sharmain Matlock Turner sat down inside City Hall Monday and worked the phones for an hour.
They made 33 calls asking businesses to either commit to hiring youths or just donating $1,700, the equivalent value of one youth's summer job, Gowen said. Since several of the calls went to voicemail, the final number of jobs obtained could be much higher.
Through WorkReady, youths aged 14 to 21 get a six-week work experience in July and August, which range from working as teams to address local issues to getting introductory work experience at summer camps, day cares and libraries and internships in real estate, engineering and health insurance.
WorkReady Philadelphia has currently secured more than 5,000 summer jobs, but their goal is 7,600, the same as in 2013.
However, even at that level, more than 11,000 applicants had to be turned away last year.
"We want every young person who wants a job to be able to have one," Fulmore-Townsend said. "It's vitally important, because our young people have the desire to be productive during the summertime."
The call-a-thon was held as part of Mayor Nutter's "Summer Jobs Challenge," seeking commitments to provide 7,600 jobs by June 1.
For more information, visit Philadelphia Youth Network's WorkReady Program or the Mayor's Summer Jobs Challenge.