10,000 jobs up for grab for Houston youth this summer

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Mayor Sylvester Turner is determined to get Houston youth hired this summer with a 7-week program dedicated to putting money in their pockets.

Since the launch of the Hire Houston Youth program in 2016, 2,500 more jobs are added each year.

"Now for 2019, our goal is 10,000 job opportunities for Houston youth in our community," said Associate Director of Education Brandon Denton.

The program has partners across Houston in every industry from healthcare to retail, fast food and government. Young adults ages 16 to 24 have the opportunity to gain experience and learn financial literacy.

"(The jobs are) entry level from working as a cashier and flipping burgers to internships for companies doing accounting," said Denton. "We found the summer time is the primary time kids are getting into trouble. Idle minds are the devil's workshop, right? So if they can get to work and do something productive, then we keep them off the streets. So it's a public safety issue as well."

Luis Moreno, a first-generation college student studying political science at University of Houston, says this opportunity opened doors he couldn't find on his own.

"When I was around 15 years old, I would never think that I would work for the mayor or get a chance to work at City Hall," said Luis. "I was talking to my grandmother the other day and I showed her a picture of me and the mayor. Where we come from not a lot of good things happen, so just to see her reaction to it, it meant everything."

Now interning under Denton, Luis is learning valuable life-long skills.

"I've never worked in an office environment. Just to see what it takes to interact with other people, what the connections mean for future businesses or partnerships, that's something that I take away," said Luis.

Not only are they earning an hourly wage of $8, but they can also apply for the Houston Food Bank Food Scholarship Program. Every young adult who finds employment through Hire Houston Youth will be able to receive $170 worth of food each month, which equates to 70-80 pounds of food. This is for the young adults to not spend their money on food or groceries.

Hire Houston Youth is also partnered with METRO to offer free travel on the rail or by bus to their employment opportunities.

The program begins June 10 and ends August 1, but the deadline to apply is Friday, May 10.

You can find out more here.

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