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Thousands Of Chicago Youths Begin Summer Jobs With City

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Thousands of young people began summer jobs with the City of Chicago today.

The 24,000 jobs this summer are 10,000 more jobs than last summer, although there were still far fewer jobs than people who applied, says Commissioner Evelyn Diaz of the city's Department of Family and Support Services.

"There's the rub. We had about 60,000 applications for those slots," Diaz says.

Diaz, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife, Amy Rule, visited one job site today, Hope College Prep on 55th and Lowe in the Englewood community. There, about 20 young people are part of the Green Corps Youth Program there of the roughly 900 in the program citywide. They'll learn how to build and repair bicycles and will ride around logging potholes they run across. They'll also learn about urban gardening.


Diaz says Green Corps is a special program that's operating out of 13 high schools.

"It's really designed to identify youth living in high-risk, high-crime, high-poverty communities and providing them with an opportunity to learn some skills, to expand their horizons a little bit," she says.

Many of the young people are eager for the work. 17-year-old Maria Jackson says, "I like being able to get out every day and be active and it's something to do when there's nothing to do. It's fun. Otherwise I would be sleeping right now (laughs) so it's good to be here."

16-year old Mercedes Anderson says she likes having a summer job. She says it's "very fun."

"You ain't got to stay in the house all the time," she says. on having a summer job.

Other jobs include lifeguards, Park District camp counselors and even office workers in city departments.

The jobs last 6-7 weeks.

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