Expanded Boston summer jobs program is keeping more young people busy

BOSTON — Boston invested nearly $19 million to create jobs for young people this summer. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu says the goal was to keep young people busy during their summer school break to reduce violence and help them thrive as they get closer to graduating.

We met a group of high school students who are navigating their teenage years with new opportunities. Santiago Gutierrez and Melanny Rodriguez Mejia landed summer jobs at the Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston through the mayor’s expanded summer jobs program. Adeola Ebekozien is the Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity. “Thinking about this from a perspective of a parent is what would they be doing if they are not working? And just making sure they don’t get into trouble, that they are staying focused,” said Ebekozien.

The mayor’s office says the $18.7 million investment into the program is the largest in Boston history. The jobs are also helping these young people learn how to thrive. “I think this helps shape their character being able to really develop yourself. Understand and discover your own interests, your passion, your skillset, your strength,” said Ebekozien. “Being more respectful to others and don’t be afraid to reach out. I always feel people are afraid to try new things,” said Gutierrez. “Not being outside. Always being alone. That is a big fear of mine, always being alone,” said Rodriguez Mejia.

Gutierrez has already gotten a promotion this summer. “Welcome to my office,” Gutierrez joked while showing us the beautiful skyline view. “It’s nice. I like it.” Gutierrez says he’s already lining up more opportunities. “I’m saving up for college and hopefully a trip overseas. Hopefully Spain,” he said.

Mayor Wu’s office says it was able to help more than 7,000 young people get a job this summer. That is up from 4,500 last summer.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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