Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton and community leaders today held a news conference to encourage business community participation in the 2008 Seeds of Change Summer Jobs Program.
The news conference was held at Virginia T's, a distributor of imprintable sportswear that participated in 2007 and plans to hire Summer Jobs Program employees again this year. In fact, 10 students from last year's program are still employed by the company.
The Hyatt Regency and Marriott Sawgrass participated in 2007 and have also signed on to hire students again this year.
“We know that in order to reverse the culture of violence, we must provide young people with the knowledge and the resources to succeed,” said Mayor Peyton. “Summer job opportunities are just one way we can help our youth build character, develop leadership traits and promote respect for themselves and others. I commend Virginia T's for stepping up to the plate for the second year and challenging others in the business community to follow their lead.”
Under the leadership of Ron Autrey, current chair, and Mike Hightower, incoming chair, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce will promote the Summer Jobs Program to the business community, ensuring that they understand the importance of providing employment opportunities to the community's youth.
The Seeds of Change Summer Jobs Program was created to provide Jacksonville's young people with workplace skills and a strong foundation for career building. The program targets full-time Jacksonville students ages 16-21 who have a desire to make a difference in their community and want to gain valuable job skills.
WorkSource will serve as a one-stop-shop for students seeking a part-time summer job and businesses needing employees. Both students and businesses may apply online at www.worksourcefl.com or by calling WorkSource at (904) 798-9229 x2206 or x2218.
Trained WorkSource staff will coordinate the registration of interested businesses and students, matching skills requested by the employer with a qualified student. Students will be available to work during the summer months (approximately six to eight weeks) for about 20 hours per week for at least minimum wage.
Free training will be provided to ensure the program is successful for all participants. In addition, employers who hire students from designated Empowerment Zones, may be eligible for tax credits through a new pilot program. (See attached flier for more information.)
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) will assist with transportation needs by providing free bus passes to all registered Summer Jobs Program student employees.
The Summer Jobs Program has been examined closely by The Jacksonville Journey Positive Youth Development Subcommittee, chaired by Audrey McKibbin Moran. The subcommittee has recommended that in 2009, WorkSource and the Chamber take the lead in attracting business participants and handling logistics. The Jacksonville Journey recommendations are under consideration by the initiative's Steering and Funding Committees at this time.
Virginia T's is a distributor of imprintable sportswear (t-shirts, sports shirts, towels, outerwear, etc.) with three locations—Jacksonville, Fla.; Petersburg, Va. and Evansville, Ind. Students employed by the company pull merchandise for orders and assist with other tasks in the warehouse as needed.
The Seeds of Change Summer Jobs Program is a partnership of the City of Jacksonville, Duval County Public Schools, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and WorkSource.
The program launched in the spring of 2006 as part of Mayor John Peyton's Seeds of Change: Growing Great Neighborhoods initiative. In its first two years, the program has employed more than 800 Jacksonville students.