The City of Atlanta has hired nearly 1,000 Atlanta youths this summer for internships offering practical experience in all city departments and mentorship opportunities with city leaders. The interns are graduating high school seniors and college students.
As an extension of the internship program, the City of Atlanta launched its Youth Summer Engagement Pilot Program, which will hire 45 potentially at-risk youth, ages 15-17, allowing them to learn the skills required to be competitive for a permanent position or similar job in the future. More than 90 percent of the participants were recommended by the Atlanta Police Department (APD), Department of Parks and Recreation and members of the Atlanta City Council.
“I am proud to offer unique work opportunities to the next generation of leaders which will enhance their academic, career and professional development,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “One of my top commitments as Mayor is to ensure that our young people have the tools they need to succeed. The City of Atlanta is offering 1,000 hands-on internships which will focus on mentorship, character building, project management and team building skills – essential assets of a professional.” In early 2017, the City of Atlanta initiated a citywide youth engagement strategy, which consisted of a comprehensive needs assessment. The purpose of the assessment was to create and implement new strategic intervention mechanisms for potentially at-risk teens. As an initial approach, Atlanta Police Department Chief Erika Shields worked with APD Zone Commanders to identify youth offenders. In addition, the Department of Parks and Recreation identified students with poor school performance or attendance and school suspensions. Once individuals were selected, city officials surveyed the group to asset their needs. One key consensus among the teens was the desire to have access to work opportunities and to earn income.
“I am pleased to offer work opportunities to these young people at such an important point in their lives,” said Reed. “By engaging these individuals with meaningful work now, our hope is that we can support these teens and ensure they realize their full potential.”