Mayor Lucas announces initiative to employ city’s at-risk youth

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A new program aims to provide paid internships and employment to 10% of Kansas City youth. // Image courtesy of KCMO

In collaboration with Hire KC, Entrepreneurship KC, and KC Common Good, Mayor Lucas intends to provide employment opportunities to 500 youth who live east of Troost this summer under a new Working For Youth initiative.

Working For Youth will begin this summer program in early June, providing both virtual and in-person opportunities. Kansas City employers in all sectors, including business, government, nonprofit, and philanthropy, are encouraged to get involved by either providing internships to 14- to 18-year-olds or financially sponsoring eight weeks of employment and mentorship for $2,000.

“Our vision is for all area youth to have a chance at career exploration, job training and internship experience,” says KC Common Good President Klassie Alcine. “Young people need the opportunity to thrive, and we’re the key to their success. Together, we can address the root causes of violence to instill hope and ensure a successful future for every young person in the Kansas City region. There’s never been a more critical time to unite in support of the next generation.”

The program, inspired by Nebraska grassroots initiative Step Up Omaha, was formed in hopes of providing opportunities to historically marginalized and at-risk youth as part of the city’s Reform Project. Mayor Lucas says participation from the business community on this initiative would combat violent crime, something the city has long looked for ways to fix.

“Every single victim of violent crime has loved ones—parents, siblings, children, spouses, friends—whose lives are changed forever because of our violence epidemic, and we cannot become numb to our violence problem or shrug our shoulders like this is too big of a problem to solve,” says Lucas. “Curbing violent crime requires more than just law enforcement-related solutions—and we all have a role to play.”

Youth and employers interested in participating or finding out more can register here.

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