INDIANAPOLIS — According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the participation of teens in the workforce has declined over the last few decades. Indianapolis city leaders are hoping to change that.
Since 2016, the city has been urging young people to apply for jobs through Project Indy, which a network that allows people aged 16-24 to connect with employers that will provide job opportunities and skill development.
“The culture has truly changed since you and I were kids, but (kids) need something to do,” Sandra Jessie-Conley, a Deaconess at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, said.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has made a point to visit local churches like Friendship Missionary Baptist church to inform people about Project Indy.
Teens like 16-year-old Lurenzo Moffett are in the age group of workers that is targeted in Project Indy. He says he’s been looking for a job since Dec., but agrees not all people his age are looking for work.
“Some of my friends have jobs and they tell me they get paid $14 an hour. That makes me want to get a job,” Moffett said. “But then some of my other friends say they don’t want to get a job because they want to have more free time.”
People within the community feel that getting more young people to work during summertime will help stop violence that is taking place among teens and young adults in Indianapolis.
“I think one of the best anti-crime programs the city can offer is to give our young people something meaningful to do over the course of the summer,” Hogsett said.
Community members hope that if young adults have jobs, it can bring them closer together and feel good about working with one another.
“Children need something to help them stay busy that gives them an opportunity to have their own money. It pulls them all closer together so they can all work together,” Jessie-Conley said.
Last summer Indy parks had a hard time finding lifeguards, so they were unable to open all of their pools. That’s an employment gap they are still trying to fill.
“In the city, the parks and recreation needs not only lifeguards, but camp counselors and program coordinators,” Hogsett said. “These are all meaningful jobs that young people could do, and they get paid $15 an hour minimum.”
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