Summer Jobs Programs Get Private Fund Infusion

By: - June 24, 2011 12:00 am

This week marked the official start of summer, but for many young people, finding a summer job won’t be easy. With all the budget cuts happening at the state and local level, jobs funded by government will be especially hard to come by.

Enter Walmart.

The mega-retailer and its charitable foundation are giving $25 million to support summer programs for youths across the country, The Washington Post reports . Nationally, the money is expected to provide 5,000 summer jobs for inner-city youth in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.; learning programs for 20,000 children; and 8 million meals to 85,000 poor school-age children, the company said .

Public money for summer jobs is especially tight this year, in part because money from the federal economic stimulus program has dried up. The stimulus law allocated $1.2 billion for summer jobs in 2009 and 2010. Last year, New York City used $12 million in stimulus funds plus $9 million in federal welfare funds for jobs programs. Los Angeles last year used $18 million in welfare money.

“Those streams are now expired or spent out,” says Sarah Pitcock, senior director of program quality for the National Summer Learning Association . “So they aren’t available for this year.”

Pitcock’s organization is among the 350 nonprofit groups that will share the funds Walmart is making available this summer. Her group is getting a $11.5 million grant that will provide more than 20,000 slots for summer learning programs for students entering grades six through nine in urban areas from California to Massachusetts .

Others participating in the program are the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Urban Alliance, Latin American Youth Center, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and City Connect Detroit.

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