In its second year, Mayor Eric Johnson’s Dallas Works program is putting hundreds of young people to work this summer.
Mayor Johnson launched Dallas Works in February 2020 with the goal of eventually employing thousands of young people each summer. He modeled the program on efforts in other cities such as Houston, Boston, Chicago, and New York, which have long had robust summer jobs programs that help employ thousands of young people annually.
Dallas Works is also meant to improve public safety. One 2017 study showed that New York City’s Summer Youth Employment program participants were 17% less likely to be arrested during the summer and 23% less likely to be arrested for a felony.
In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, Dallas Works helped connect 465 kids to job training and summer jobs at businesses, nonprofits, and governmental entities. That was more than in any single year of the program’s predecessor, the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program.
This year, Dallas Works expanded its eligibility to include young people ages 15-24. The program is administered by local nonprofit Education is Freedom in partnership with Mayor Johnson’s office.
Here are some updates and high- lights on this year’s Dallas Works efforts:
CITY HALL INTERNS
Through Mayor Johnson’s advoca- cy for more opportunities for youth in Dallas, $60,000 was included in the city budget for internships for youth at Dallas City Hall. With that funding, more than 30 young people have been employed this summer as interns with various city departments, including in Mayor Johnson’s office.
“Through Dallas Works, we are able to give our young people important on-the-job experience and a window into the high calling of public service,” Mayor Johnson said. “I am grateful that our city departments have taken on these interns, who rep- resent our city’s future. Dallas and our city government will be better for it.”
Dallas Works is also partnering with NAF, a national organization that works with high-need communities to ensure high school students are ready for college and their careers. The partnership will allow young people in Dallas Works to receive access to STEM-focused and industry-specific curricula that will better equip them for future careers.
In addition, Dallas students who are already part of local NAF academies will receive access to Dallas Works’ training, resources, and net- work.
“NAF is pleased to join with Dallas Mayor Johnson to support access and meaningful work based learning experiences for students,” said Lisa Dughi, CEO of NAF. “We appreciate the Mayor’s focus on equity and opportunity for more young people as the program serves to increase talent development and a strong and diverse workforce.”
“The partnership between Dallas Works and NAF is a perfect match that allows both programs to enhance their efforts to prepare our young people for the future,” Mayor John- son said. “Together, we can ensure that all young people in our city have equitable access to opportunities to grow and learn valuable skills this summer.”
Mayor Johnson is also partnering with JPMorgan Chase to place 31 interns at companies in high-growth and high-demand sectors. Sixteen of these interns will be placed at startup companies across the City of Dallas.
Placing corporate-sponsored interns at startup companies was among the recommendations made by the Mayor’s Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which submitted its report to Mayor Johnson at the end of April. The Task Force’s goal was to help make Dallas an internationally recognized hub for startups and entrepreneurs.
This newly announced partnership will allow startup companies to receive essential staff support in the summer and will allow young people in the city to have access to terrific and unique employment opportunities.
“We are not just helping to build startups in Dallas. We are growing a culture of innovation in our city,” Mayor Johnson said. “This partner- ship with JPMorgan Chase helps our young people learn from the cut- ting-edge businesses of today so they can develop the insight and skills to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
“Increasing summer work opportunities for young people is critical, especially for populations that struggle to enter and succeed in the labor market,” said Michelle Thomas, head of philanthropy in DFW for JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan Chase is helping more than 20 U.S. cities prepare thousands of young people for the future of work through new approaches to Summer Youth Employment Programs, including this incredible effort in Dallas. We congratulate Mayor Johnson for his leadership in creating more career and learning opportunities for our young people, and for putting them on a path to greater success and prosperity.”
“When I started my company, Kanarys, I learned that for such a strong market, Dallas had more work to do in terms of supporting the startup ecosystem, which is why I was honored to work with the Mayor’s Task Force to support entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Mandy Price, co-founder and CEO of Kanarys and co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “I’m thrilled that we’re already putting our recommendation in action by not only providing support for Dallas startups but also placing young talent in a unique business environment to create the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
“The Mayor’s Dallas Works program is a great initiative that provides job training opportunities for students and showcases the opportunities that exist in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career while also providing diverse and innovative young talent to startups companies in need of workers who can contribute to the fundamental elements necessary to help a startup start, build and scale their businesses,” said Trey Bowles, co-founder and chairman emeritus of the DEC Network and co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.