STL Youth Jobs, now in its sixth year of providing jobs to youth, ages 16-24, in the City of St. Louis, received $288,000 from The Citi Foundation, with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) as a part of its Summer Jobs Connect initiative.
This year’s investment will provide 175 summer jobs for St. Louis youth as well as enhance the financial empowerment services provided by STL Youth Jobs and the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE).
Youth participants receive financial education and access to a free checking and savings account, provided by 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. To support this education and enhance the depth of knowledge gained, youth participants will also receive ongoing tips and ideas from their peers. These Young Money Managers will help youth build positive financial behaviors through group encouragement and reinforcing conversations about saving, budgeting and responsible money choices. Funding from the Summer Jobs Connect initiative will also enable 1st Financial Federal Credit Union to implement technology upgrades, thus streamlining the account opening process for youth.
A photo ID card is often a required component of getting a job and opening a bank account—both important factors for youth seeking a way to earn and save money. Summer Jobs Connect funding will also help provide youth with a state issued picture ID.
"A summer job can make a lasting difference in the lives of young people,” Mayor Lyda Krewson said. “With a summer job, they are more likely to learn the value of hard work, more likely to graduate high school and go to college, and more likely to earn more as an adult."
“We are proud to connect more St. Louis youth to summer job experiences in 2018,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “These opportunities can help young people develop the crucial workplace skills and money management know-how that can last a lifetime. We’ve seen firsthand how adding financial education into the summer jobs program mix helps build financial confidence and shift youth attitudes about long-term goals.”
In total, the Citi Foundation has invested $1,154,400 in St. Louis since 2015 as part of the eight-city Summer Jobs Connect initiative.
“What better time than a summer job to really show - not just tell - a young adult about banking, direct deposit, budgeting and saving? ” said Jonathan Mintz, president and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.
With support from the Citi Foundation and the CFE Fund, STL Youth Jobs will continue to set young people on a path towards lifelong positive money management by providing education that will help them develop the skills to budget and establish savings as well access to his/her own free checking and savings accounts. The accounts provided by 1st Financial Federal Credit Union are easy to use as they’re linked to debit cards, and the youth also have direct deposit and automatic allocations to savings accounts. In 2017, 95 percent of STL Youth Jobs participants were banked and enrolled in direct deposit. Youth participants saved $109,000.
“Making positive change in the lives of young people from neighborhoods with high poverty and crime can be overwhelming,” said Hillary Frey, executive director, STL Youth Jobs. “Oftentimes, the needs are enormous and the resources don’t measure up.”
STL Youth Jobs is a cross-sector collaboration made up of a diverse group of civic, corporate and community stakeholders. STL Youth Jobs strives to bridge the divide between the challenges facing our region’s youth and the growing demands of our local workforce. Collaborative and strategic partnerships include Mayor Lyda Krewson, the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones, the Citi Foundation, the CFE Fund, the Incarnate Word Foundation, the St. Louis Community Foundation and MERS Goodwill.
It costs about $2,500 to fund one youth employee’s job. Mayor Krewson has committed nearly $475,000 of city resources to support youth employment in summer 2018. The Citi Foundation’s support, coupled with these public investments and other private donations, will allow over 700 at-risk teenagers and young adults to gain employment. Since 2013, STL Youth Jobs has provided nearly 2,500 youth with paid work experience, job readiness and financial literacy training, career and mentoring services.
Despite the creation of these opportunities for St. Louis youth, there is also a waiting list for employment. To help fund a youth job or to learn more about the program, visit www.stlyouthjobs.org.