Twenty-five Massachusetts municipalities will receive a total of $9.1 million to provide summer jobs for young people between the ages of 14 and 21. The city of Boston will get the bulk of the jobs, with the rest going to other cities that have significant numbers of at-risk youth.
With the recession hitting young workers and teens the hardest, Governor Deval Patrick’s pledge should be a relief, especially since Congress refused to pass a national summer jobs bill. The latest figures put the national teen unemployment rate above 26 percent.
The funding is also good news for the police and crime-stricken communities. Studies have shown that street crime and violence can surge in the summer, when young people are out of school and unemployed, and high temperatures naturally tend to raise tensions.
In total, the money should create around 4,700 jobs for Massachusetts youths. Joanne Goldstein, the state’s secretary of labor and workforce development, said that $3.5 million of the total bill will be taken from the fiscal year 2011 budget, $3.8 million will come from last year’s reserve funding and the remaining $1.8 million will come from federal stimulus funds.
"Putting nearly 5,000 young people to work who otherwise would not have an opportunity for employment is huge," said Goldstein. "It keeps kids safe. It provides income for themselves and their families."