Pittsburgh summer job program participation swells

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The city says participation in its annual Summer Youth Employment Program has jumped since last year and is expected grow more in 2015.

At the beginning of the program Monday, 521 people between the ages of 14 and 21 were participating, up from 319 the year before.

However, that figure represents just 40 percent of the more than 1,300 people who applied for positions, prompting a mayoral task force to look for a way to hire more applicants.

“We need to extend young people’s careers from the opportunity that is gained in the summers to deeper vocational experiences that connect to higher education and technical careers,” said Curtiss Porter, co-chair of the Mayoral Task Force on Summer Youth Employment Opportunities and the city’s chief education and neighborhood investment officer. “That reinforces their commitment to the city as a great place to live and to grow and, in the final analysis, that makes sure their summers are worthwhile.”

Applicants must be between 14 and 21. If accepted, they make $7.25 per hour and work six hours per day in more than 100 work sites citywide, mostly maintaining properties and parks, or in internships in public and private business offices.

The task force is looking at ways to expand the program, which has a budget of $1.15 million this year, by adding new job sites, more marketing and more funding.

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