By: Mark Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and FamiliesAs summer approaches, we want to highlight the importance of community summer jobs programs, and share a set of resources that may be helpful to community efforts.
A well-structured summer jobs program can provide important benefits to its participants and the community as a whole. First, it may provide the first opportunity for a young person to get a job, learn about the world of work, develop work readiness skills and get a reference for future employment. Second, it may provide a young person with their first opportunity to learn about how it’s possible to save, and why it’s a good thing to do so. Third, it can provide young people and their families with much-needed income. And, fourth, there is evidence that participation in a summer jobs program reduces the likelihood of a young person engaging in risky behaviors, including drug and alcohol use and violence.
At ACF, we’ve emphasized the potential virtues of summer jobs programs throughout this Administration. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, states used TANF funds to create the largest subsidized jobs effort since the 1970s, including a significant youth employment component, and TANF agencies and workforce agencies successfully partnered for summer jobs efforts.
Since that time, we’ve encouraged state and local efforts through a set of letters, technical assistance, webinars, and other initiatives. We emphasize that states, localities, and tribes can use TANF funds to fund their summer efforts; that there can be valuable partnerships with community action agencies; and that young people in foster care can be a particularly important group to prioritize for summer jobs programs.
This year, ACF is encouraging participation in the Administration’s Summer Opportunity Project. This project is a multi-agency effort to provide opportunities and supports to youth across the country, with commitments from businesses, federal agencies, and cities.
READ MORE: Supporting Summer Youth Work