Editor’s note: This article was updated on Oct. 1 to reflect the closure of community partner recruitment and to include information for youth to submit interest forms.
A new group of Sacramento teens will have the opportunity to participate in a paid work-based learning program funded by federal stimulus money, following a successful summer partnership between the City of Sacramento and PRO Youth and Families.
Now, after identifying community-based organizations for the program, the City and PRO Youth and Families are seeking new youth participants to take part in #SacYouthWorks this fall.
“Over the summer, the #SacYouthWorks pilot program connected 400 high school youth with 32 community-based organizations,” said Youth Development Policy Manager Lindee Lane. “This program ensures our young people are provided the connections and tools they need to cope and thrive during this global pandemic and beyond, while learning critical work readiness skills and supporting local efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19 on our community.”
“Thanks to the leadership and support of the City of Sacramento, these youth engaged in over 16,000 service and training hours to address the challenges of COVID-19 and earned over $160,000 collectively,” said Staci Anderson, President and CEO of PRO Youth and Families.
During the summer program, youth were connected to supportive and caring mentors and coaches from one of 32 community-based organizations across the city, completed a minimum of 40 program hours and earned a $400 stipend.
“I know that I can walk away from this session knowing I’m a leader, that I am a young advocate,” said #SacYouthWorks participant G’Ahna T., who worked at the Roberts Family Development Center.
The summer program hosted a diverse group of young people, with 66 percent or participants identifying as African Americans and 21 percent as Hispanic or Latinx. Eight percent spoke a language other than English at home, with 17 primary languages represented across all participant households. 63 percent of participants reported that it was their first paid work experience and 95 percent of participants reported that the experience helped them discover ways to make their community better.
Participating community organizations included Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento, Breakthrough Sacramento, California Black Women’s Health Project, Earth Mama Healing, Fairytale Town, La Familia Counseling Center, Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum, The Race and Gender Equity Project, Yisrael Family Farm and more.
Sacramento City Council on Aug. 8 awarded $1.3 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund money to PRO Youth and Families to expand and extend #SacYouthWorks into the fall, and PRO Youth and Families is now seeking more organizations to join the program.
This fall, #SacYouthWorks will engage 850 more young people ages 12-24 in work-based learning. This will more than double the number of youth served during the summer. Fall programming has been expanded to include two additional tracks for middle-school and older youth, as well as a discrete Peer Mental Health track.
Those interested in participating in the program must submit an interest form by October 7.