Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and South Side religious leader Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of Saint Sabina Church, launched a new youth jobs program this week in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.
Launched on Monday, the "Auburn-Gresham Pilot" will serve 50 young men aged 16 to 28 who are neither in school nor working.
Through the city's One Summer Chicago program and the Saint Sabina Church's internship, the 50 young men will gain summer employment and mentorship, according to the mayor's office.
"Participants will complete a minimum of 5 hours per week of engagement with their coach, group meetings with their cohort, and social emotional learning delivered by the COTA [Council of Personal Thought and Action] program," reads a news release from the mayor's office.
"As participants prepare to become employed full-time, they will log an additional 10 hours per week of coach-guided, individual activities focused on job training and readiness and job searching and interviewing. Each of the participants will also select and complete a community service project of their own to give back to the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood."
The pilot will be a yearlong initiative and the University of Chicago Urban Labs plans to study the program's implementation and success.
"Whether it is through education or jobs training, an investment in Chicago's youth is the best investment for Chicago's future," Emanuel said in a statement. "As part of our commitment to creating opportunity and investing in our communities, this pilot will ensure that, one community at a time, our young men have the tools they need to get back on track to secure a good-paying job and a brighter future."
Pfleger added, "These are youth that have the cards stacked against them, because they have been involved with the criminal system. They aren't in school and don't have jobs. A job and mentoring gives them an opportunity to not only succeed, but to be leaders in their community."