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Rebuilding the Economy, One Summer Job at a Time

Summer jobs for youth can change lives and the city of Philadelphia knows. WorkReady Philadelphia is a cross-sector partnership improving the outcomes of the region's youth.

In 2007, Dante got a WorkReady Philadelphia internship as a greeter in a local bank. Today, Dante is a supervisor at that same bank – a career that would not have been possible without his summer job experience. 

In 2010, Tiana participated in a healthcare-related WorkReady Philadelphia internship. Tiana’s employer was so impressed with her work ethic that they rehired her the following summer. Today, Tiana is pursuing a degree in Health Policy and Administration. 

Tiana’s and Dante’s stories demonstrate the power of summer jobs to transform lives. Recent data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found youth employment is at its lowest level since World War II, and that youth who miss out on an early work experience are more likely to experience unemployment as adults and less likely to achieve high levels of career attainment. 

In Philadelphia, we are implementing unique solutions to change these statistics. WorkReady Philadelphia is a citywide, cross-sector partnership dedicated to improving the outcomes of the region’s youth by attracting, aligning and investing resources in youth workforce-development strategies. WorkReady summer experiences offer educationally-enriched work opportunities to in-school and out-of-school youth ages 14-21. Participants complete a six-week (120 hour), paid work experience that fosters the acquisition of the 21st Century skills through work-based learning. Under Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s leadership, this year we launched the 10,000 Summer Jobs Challenge — a charge to the city to unite and create job opportunities for youth.

Philadelphia has responded. The Philadelphia Youth Network, the Mayor’s staff, and WorkReady’s Employer Partners already have secured local resources to provide over 7,500 youth with employment opportunities this year, surpassing the 6,800 youth we served in 2012.  

In Philadelphia, we believe the job of preparing our young people for career success is far too big to be the responsibility of any single institution or organization.  It requires the community to work together in partnership to achieve that goal. As we take on this challenge together – across all sectors – our impact enables more and more young people, like Dante and Tiana, to succeed. For more information, or to follow the progress of our 10,000 Summer Jobs Challenge go to

Stephanie Gamborne is the Vice President for External Relations at the Philadelphia Youth Network.