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Seattle Youth Jobs Effort Puts Nearly 2,000 To Work

Ann Dornfeld
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces the growth of his Youth Employment Initiative at the headquarters of Starbucks, which has hired interns this summer.

Nearly 2,000 Seattle young people have jobs this summer as part of the city's Youth Employment Initiative, Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday.

Murray said the program has more than doubled in size from last year -- but still there were nearly twice as many applications as there were internships. The goal is to expand the program into the school year to meet the demand.

The mayor said providing job opportunities for young people is critical.

"Seattle’s youth unemployment stands at 13 percent. For young people of color, it is significantly worse. And that is in a city where unemployment stands at just below 5 percent," Murray said.

Among the benefits of programs like this, Murray pointed to a study showing that young people with summer jobs are nearly half as likely to be victims of violent crimes.

The city’s jobs program lines up paid internships for young people ages 14 to 24. Employers range from nursing homes to biotech labs to city government.

The jobs pay $11 an hour for up to 25 hours per week.

Seventeen-year-old Alexa Allen, who just graduated from Franklin High School, spent most of last summer looking for work.

This summer, she’s working on the newsletter for the city’s Office of Economic Development.

"This is my first job, so it’s been a great opportunity to work in an office setting and get to see how the city works," Allen said.

Year started with KUOW: 2008