Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today was joined by several Board Commissioners to announce the County is increasing its contribution to the One Summer Plus program, a targeted jobs program directed at youth in the city’s high risk communities, to $265,000.
The County’s funding to One Summer Plus will aid in providing opportunities for 700 young people at 13 Chicago schools with the highest risk of violence to earn jobs and be part of a safe environment this summer while staying off the street and away from violence. Specifically, this funding, which is administered by the City’s Department of Family Services will go towards Jobs Mentors assigned to work with the participating youth in partnership with outside groups such as St. Sabina Employment Resource, Sinai Community Institute, and Phalanx Family Services. Mentors are tasked with establishing a meaningful relationship with students and reinforcing the development of skills and knowledge gained through the program while ensuring that the student arrives to the work site each day and ensuring the participant has a successful summer experience.
“We are increasing our commitment to this important program because it’s imperative we do more to keep our children out of harm’s way and in a safe environment,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
At a news conference Monday, President Preckwinkle was joined by Commissioner John Daley, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Commissioner Bridget Gainer, and Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia who offered their support of the County’s commitment to the summer jobs program.
“A summer job may end after three months, but its impact can last a lifetime,” Chairman Daley said. “That is the time when a young person might choose a career, or a college major. Funds spend on this program represent an investment in the future productivity of Cook County’s workforce.”
“A young person is only 16 or 17 one time and having a job for the summer can be the turning point to show them the value and opportunity of work,” said Commissioner Gainer. “Using this funding to give 75 or 100 more kids this opportunity is a great match.”
“With the diminishing federal funds available for jobs for youth Cook County’s contribution to creating more jobs is the right thing to do,” Commissioner Garcia said. “This is particularly important because this year has been one of the most violent in recent memory. Jobs are one way to keep youth engaged in positive activities and I applaud the County’s efforts.”
The County is providing $120,000 in grant-matching funds, in an addition to the $145,000 from the President’s Justice Advisory Council (JAC) already committed to the program. This funding also includes rigorous evaluation to determine the impact it has on violence and school outcomes, to track progress and provide meaningful evaluation.
One Summer Chicago is a component of the ongoing collaboration between the City of Chicago and Cook County. One Summer Chicago includes a targeted jobs program, One Summer PLUS, aimed at youth who are at increased risk of exposure to violence because they live in communities where the crime rates are traditionally higher and/or incidents of violent crimes are much greater, especially in the summer months. The PLUS program is focused on providing opportunities to roughly 700 youth from Morgan Park, Julian, Hyde Park, Simeon, Dunbar, Robeson, Gage Park, Orr, Kenwood, Harlan, Farragut, Fenger, and Marshall high schools.