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ST. LOUIS • The city plans to expand its summer employment program for young people in lower-income areas.

Mayor Lyda Krewson at a news conference Thursday said the nonprofit StL Youth Jobs program has set “an ambitious but we think doable goal” of getting jobs for 1,000 people ages 16 to 24. Last year 739 took part, she said.

“The importance of a job, the importance of working, really can’t be overstated,” the mayor said. “A summer job is an opportunity to learn workplace skills, financial literacy and get on the path to a career.”

She said the program is recruiting 150 employers to take part, hiring participants for office work and jobs in sectors such as light manufacturing, assembly, health care and technology.

She said the city has earmarked $750,000 for this year’s program. That’s up from about $440,000 last year. The program also is seeking about $1.75 million in corporate and other private contributions, said executive director Hillary Frey.

Krewson said participants are paid about $9 an hour and work about 20 hours a week, starting in early June. They also get mentoring and training.

Frey said the program is open to residents of about 20 lower-income St. Louis neighborhoods and parts of north St. Louis County. City residents have made up a large majority of past participants, she said. People interested can apply at stlyouthjobs.org.

Krewson also said the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment plans to place 440 youths in summer jobs through four programs; last year 356 were placed. For more information, call 314-589-8000. Age and income qualifications vary from program to program, the agency said.

She also said the city is seeking 100 seasonal workers at least 18 years old to cut grass and beautify parks and vacant lots between early April and October. Pay starts around $13 an hour and the jobs aren’t restricted to city residents. She also cited the revived police cadet program for people age 18 and older.

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Mark Schlinkmann is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.