Mayor Cantrell Celebrates ‘Summer Success’ Jobs Program for System-Involved Youth



Mayor LaToya Cantrell joined workforce development partners from across the city to celebrate the pilot program “Summer Success,” which connected 100 system-involved youth with employment opportunities.

“We want our people to know that this City is investing all that we can and all that we have in our youth and in our families. Specifically with the summer, we wanted to focus heavily on our most vulnerable population as it relates to our young people; by giving them a positive workforce experience," Mayor Cantrell said. "Our summer youth employment programs can reduce arrests, violent crimes, incarceration and premature deaths.”

The program, a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families, the Director of Strategic Initiatives and the Office of Workforce Development/JOB1, is a cross-departmental effort to serve our vulnerable youth and expose them to new opportunities while building capacity in local organizations and businesses to be actively engaged in supporting our community.

“Summer Success specifically sought to invest in young people by giving them the opportunity to work, learn and earn over the summer,” said Office of Youth & Families Director Emily Wolff. “We focused this investment on youth who have been arrested and system-involved, in order to make the case for the impact of a summer job, mentorship and workforce development on a young person’s success and overall well-being.”

The program sought to serve multiple areas throughout the City, impacting 100 youth and families (ages 14 to 21) from every City Council district. The program partnered with seven organizations that offered a variety of programming and services, and provided case management where it related to transportation, behavioral health referrals, and crisis intervention. While a final analysis of the program will be completed at a later date, initial results showed that less than 4 percent of system-involved youth were rearrested during the program.

“We exercised flexibility in our registration process, eliminating as many barriers as possible, thus increasing access to their families,” said Office of Workforce Development Director Sunae Villavaso. “Based upon the positive feedback from the participants, their families and our partners in this work, the Office of Workforce Development, in partnership with the Office of Youth & Families, are in the midst of developing a year-round program to build upon the positive impact this program has created.”

Joshua Cox, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of Strategic Initiatives, said, “The Gun Violence Reduction Task Force was charged with offering the Mayor a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence in our city, and I’m proud to say that this Summer Success pilot was the first outcome of those efforts. This is about making use of our resources, and we are guided by data both on the front end and the back end.”

City leaders also acknowledge the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, which provided transportation assistance to help youth get to work and on time.

Referral partners included:

  • Orleans Parish Juvenile Court judges and programs
  • Welcoming Project
  • Youth Empowerment Project
  • The NET
  • Louisiana Center for Children's Rights
  • OPSB Office of Student Support & Attendance

Providers included:

  • Taking Back Our Youth
  • Milne Inspiration
  • Limitless Vistas
  • The Youth Empowerment Project
  • Chicken & Watermelon
  • Heroes of New Orleans
  • The Net
SOURCE: City of New Orleans

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