By Louise Scott, Gary Crusader
As a part of a grant from the U. S. Conference of Mayors the Gary Common Council recently approved $15,000 in funding for 16 new positions for the city’s Youth Summer Job Positions.
Because of the small amount of jobs being offered to young people during the summer by the city, Gary Common Council critic Jim Nowaki addressed those numbers compared to the city of Chicago’s number of summer jobs being provided. He said, “I want to draw attention to the council that Chicago is funding 20,000 youth summer jobs. That sounds so impossible that the city of Chicago can fund 20,000 youth jobs and the city of Gary is funding 16 youth jobs. I would simply propose that the needs of youth in Chicago are more than there are in Gary. I do think the Gary Common Council should do a little better than this. They simply need to talk to the Park Department and tell them we simply have to do better when a community just east of us with a larger community and more resources are able to do better than us by 1,000 to one.”
Jason Reeves, another citizen who spoke to the council on the issue said there should be a format to support the youth in the city of Gary. He said, “I think internships are valuable. For professional and occupations to coincide together is a valuable learning process for young people in the city. With an internship it would last them for life.”
Carolyn Rogers, Councilwoman of the 4th district said the city of Gary and the Park Department over the past years have partnered with businesses in the city to provide summer jobs as well. This particular legislation is not the only source of revenue for summer jobs this year. She said, “We have had businesses to either hire one person or additional people. We are asking businesses out there to agree to hire students for the summer. I know the city of Gary and the park department are always looking for various different funding mechanisms to address jobs for students.”
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said this is just one of the funding streams for our summer jobs. She said there will also be jobs provided by the Gary Sanitary District and the Summer of Opportunities Initiative Program that deals with summer activities. The Mayor said, “The hallmark of this is asking every business or organization in the community to employ at least one person. We are looking to increase our numbers. I will guarantee you it will not be 20,000, but we are using every opportunity and resource to apply grants for summer employment from the White House Program. You will hear from this very soon as well.”