NEWARK — Mayor Ras Baraka arrived at the Summer Youth Employment Program kick-off at the Essex County College gymnasium Monday morning to welcome the hundreds of kids waiting to get a job.
The Summer Youth Work and Enrichment Program began Monday with the support of roughly $2 million in funding, offering summer opportunities for 2,600 children in the state’s largest city.
The participants gathered this morning to attend orientation for the program, which officials said is part of the effort to get more members of the youth employed in the city.
“We know the importance of keeping kids connected and engaged in some kind of structural opportunity,” Baraka said. “About how important it is to make sure our kids are engaged in the summer time.”
About 1,500 students are hired to work every summer with the approximate $1 million investment from Newark and its employment office, Newark Works. But the extra private funds donated this year helped boost that number to $1,905,000, and is allowing for 2,600 participants.
City officials said the program aims to help educate and offer Newark kids and teens opportunities to learn the importance of working and experiencing the workforce. Baraka said when he walked into the gymnasium and saw the hundreds of adolescents patiently waiting for their information, he felt confident the program will be successful.