Houstonians know that the youth of our city hold the future in their hands. They are our next innovators, trailblazers, and civic leaders.
For 7,500 of them, our Hire Houston Youth program provided an opportunity to learn about the future while being paid as summer interns working in local government, law firms, insurance companies, hotels, fast food restaurants and other private industries.
When I came in to office in 2016, the city provided only 450 summer jobs. Last year, through my Hire Houston Youth program we provided 5,000 summer jobs, paying $8 per hour. I set the goal higher for this year, and my staff was up to the challenge of recruiting employers into the program. For next year, we’re planning to offer 10,000 job opportunities for students to compete for through a series of face-to-face job interviews. We provide every applicant with interviewing tips. So, even if the student does not get a job, they benefit as a future job applicant.
These summer jobs provide money that deserving high school and college students need. Wages paid by private employers and the city also show these enterprising young people that their work has tangible value and that they are delivering a necessary product or service.
The summer jobs also teach our young people the essence of a good work ethic. The jobs provide training on the importance of being punctual, cooperating with others, communicating with supervisors, dealing with the public and developing qualifications for promising careers.
Textbooks are great, but learning first-hand about the inner workings of a restaurant or City Hall is an education unto itself.
For students who landed internships within city government, the jobs ranged from producing videos for HTV – the city’s municipal TV channel – to working with engineers to improve the city’s infrastructure.
Although these jobs are strictly about business, the interpersonal relationships that are created over the course of two months bear importance in the lives of our interns. When ambitious students meet and work collaboratively toward a coming goal, they learn from each other while learning from their supervisors.
If you know young people ages 16 to 24 who want to apply for jobs for summer 2019, I encourage you – and them – to visit our website at hirehoustonyouth.org, where online applications will be available for next year.