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$1M Obama Donation To Create 800 Summer Jobs For Teens: Here's How To Apply

By Heather Cherone | May 4, 2017 4:39pm | Updated on May 4, 2017 5:00pm
 Former President Barack Obama announced plans for his presidential library Wednesday at the South Shore Cultural Center.
Former President Barack Obama announced plans for his presidential library Wednesday at the South Shore Cultural Center.
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Joshua Mellin

CHICAGO — A $1 million donation from Barack and Michelle Obama will create 800 summer jobs for Chicago teens and young adults, city officials said Thursday.

The former president and first lady announced Wednesday they would dip into their own pockets in an effort to combat violence in Chicago and to help train Chicagoans to build the library and campus nestled in Jackson Park.

One Summer Chicago will get $1 million from the Obamas, which will create an additional 800 jobs this summer, said Jennifer Rottner, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.

"Their generous gift to One Summer Chicago will change countless lives and help more young men and women connect to a successful future," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

The additional jobs are designed to "reach young people who might be at risk if they don't have something to do during the summers," Obama said.

Youths ages 14 to 24 can apply online for one of the 30,000 jobs at onesummerchicago.org until May 15, officials said.

“We hope their gift inspires thousands of other to support this effort,” said David Hiller, president and CEO of the McCormick Foundation that helps administer fundraising for the program.

Chicagoans with a little extra cash can donate online through the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to expand the opportunities for the teens and young adults, who typically earn about $165 a week tending a community garden, creating public art or working in an office, officials said.

The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, which is designed to connect companies with workers and help them find jobs and training, will get another $1 million from the Obamas, officials said.

In order to hire qualified people from the neighborhood to build and staff the library, training needs to start now, Obama said.

"We want to make sure that some of those young people can get trained so people don't say, 'Why didn't you hire anybody from the neighborhood?' And the contractor says, 'We didn't have anybody who was trained.' Well ... let's start the pipeline now so that we can start getting some of those folks trained," Obama said.

Obama said 80 percent of hires will be from the South Side, and aside from 200 to 300 permanent jobs at the library, he expects 2,000 jobs to be created in the surrounding area and up to 5,000 jobs citywide.


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