ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens is working with the metro's YMCA to help get youth in the area to sign up for summer jobs and internships in a Thursday event.
The event is a part of efforts for the 2023 Summer Youth Employment Program, which was first announced in the mayor's State of the City address a few months ago in part of Dickens' Year of the Youth initiative.
It was held at the Villages at Carver Family YMCA at noon. As it enters its second year, the event connected with youth in the community to recruit them for multiple organizations, including Coca-Cola, Atlanta Fire and more.
"This generation of young minds are tech savvy, ambitious and ready to create a positive and significant impact of moving Atlanta forward," Mayor Dickens said at Thursday's event.
The program had success last year. Dickens stated in his State of the City address that at least 3,000 young people made over the federal minimum wage during the time in the program.
Even during a lifeguard shortage around the country, 21-year-old Jelani Durley stepped into his opportunity through the summer youth program with a passion for swimming.
"It's helping me out with building a foundation on life," Durley said about the summer opportunity.
Durley said he started swimming when he was younger, but once he got older, he fell in love with helping people and keeping his community safe.
"It feels great to be in a position to where I can outweigh the stereotype that's put on us as Black people, but it also makes me feel good to help people to get to that position. We are going to change that stereotype slowly," he added.
Durley is studying to be an engineer but wants to keep his hand in the aquatics field.
Officials said the program is open to young people ages 14 to 24. The program is supposed to help adolescents develop work-related skills and explore new career opportunities.
The mayor said that this year's program would include more experiences in film, STEM, financial literacy, entertainment and more.
Mayor Dickens also announced Thursday that the new registration portal would have a matching system to help identify the best program for the participants.
According to a statement from the mayor's office, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta has helped strengthen communities in the city.
The city stated that the organization had provided impactful services and support networks for community members of all backgrounds since 1858.
Mayor Dickens said he hopes the city hires more kids this year and encouraged everyone to take the pledge.
If interested participants could not attend Thursday's event, the mayor's office still encourages those to sign up here.
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