From city Communications Director Av Harris:
Mayor Joe Ganim today joined The Department of Youth Services, local business and youth participants to launch The Summer Youth Initiative and The Youth Champions Program (Youth Empowerment through Summer Employment). The summer initiatives were designed to serve youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 21 this summer with quality programs, activities and/or services. The Summer Youth Initiative gives local organizations or individuals access to a total of $250,000 in funding to create organized youth programs, like that of The Youth Champions.
“The launch of these programs is terrific news for the young adults in the community of Bridgeport,” said Mayor Ganim. “I am so thankful for the support of the business community in aiding our efforts to provide a safe and enriching outlet for our young people. Through these funds we will employ more than one hundred Bridgeport young people between the ages of 14-21. We will also be able to fund other meaningful activities for hundreds of other young people in the summer months.”
The Mayor’s Youth Empowerment through Summer Employment Initiative or Youth Champions was designed to give youth employment opportunities to learn a skill and gain real work experience. The program is expected to employ approximately 100 students with the help from companies and organizations in the area. The youth were divided by their interest to fill the variety of positions available. Participating businesses and organizations include: The Audubon Society, Bank of America, United Illuminating, The Mayor’s Conservation Corp, Excel Bridgeport, Emera Energy, City of Bridgeport Public Facilities, and PosiGen.
Dan McAtee, President of PosiGen said, “PosiGen is honored to support the Conservation Corps for a third summer. We’re proud to be providing jobs to young people that enable them to help sustain the very neighborhoods where they will one day own homes. Solar is the way of the future, just as these young people are our future, so we feel this partnership is a perfect fit. With the help of the Conservation Corps, PosiGen will be able to reach even more Bridgeport homeowners, to let them know that affordable solar and energy efficiency is available to all homeowners.”
“Initiatives like the City’s Junior Council Program connect Bridgeport’s youth to tremendous opportunities to develop their workforce skills, foster their interest in civic engagement, and ultimately become productive members of our community,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut Market President, Bank of America. “With a productive workforce in place, our community can grow sustainably and create a healthy economy, which is why Bank of America partners with organizations that are driving local solutions.”
The Summer Youth Initiative opens the doors for similar establishments or individuals to receive funding to create their own summer activities for the youth. The Bridgeport city council recently approved a budget of $250,000 to aid in the success of these programs with an additional $10,000 donated by United Illuminating. Applications to gain access to the funding will be evaluated and processed by the Youth Services Division of the City of Bridgeport.