Not only did Mayor William D. Euille kick off his Youth Employment Initiative Tuesday night, he personally pledged $5,000 toward the program's success.
"I've been a strong advocate of this program for many years. I'm willing to get out there an knock on doors to get youth meaningful employment," Euille told the crowd assembled in City Hall's Vola Lawson Lobby.
"It's always important for youth to be doing something positive. If it weren't for these types of programs, I probably would not be were I am today," he said.
Paula Reiley, executive director, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Inc., which received an award from the American Planning Association for their part in bringing the U.S. Patent and Trade Office to Alexandria, opened the reception by reviewing PTO's relocation to the city. PTO will serve as one of the summer employers for city youth.
"This evening's reception is about partnerships. We are here to celebrate both AEDP's winning of this award from the American Planning Association and the commencement of the Youth Employment Initiative," Reiley said.
Euille congratulated PTO for having already signed up to provide summer jobs and internships for city youth. He also urged other employers to do likewise or make a contribution to the program.
"Just as businesses are important to the health and well being of a community, an adequate and able workforce is imperative to the success of businesses. Alexandria has always attracted new workers but the city also must "grow" its own workforce to ensure a good economy and low unemployment," Euille said.
"For years, the city has assisted economically disadvantaged youth gain valuable experience through the Summer Youth Employment Program. Young people have to learn the basics of the work world through subsidized jobs in public agencies and non-profit organizations. Older teens and young adults have benefited from paid positions in the private sector," Euille said.
"While efforts on the part of the youth employment program has been commendable, the program has not been able to place every young person in a summer job due to lack of work sites. That's why I've created the Mayor's Initiative for Youth Employment," he said.
Under this program, staff at the city's "JobLink One-Stop Career Center" will identify and screen young people, show them how to complete job applications, write resumes, guide them on workplace dress and behavior, and schedule work hours, according to Euille
"Employers will interview applicants referred to them, provide summer jobs that pay at least minimum wage, and support the young person by making them part of their team. If businesses are not able to hire a young person this summer, they may make a donation to the program that will allow a teen to be placed in a subsidized position," Euille said.
On Thursday, April 28, the city's Teen Work Youth Employment Program will hold its annual job fair at T.C. Williams High School from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The program is supported by the Alexandria Commission on Employment, headed by Franklyn Malone.
Also in attendance at the reception were Alexandria Vice Mayor Redella "Del" Pepper, members of City Council, various business leaders, representatives of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and PTO, and members of Alexandria Commission on Employment.