Workforce Wednesday: The importance of summer jobs and how you can help


The need for young people to have summer work experiences, and earn compensation is now more important than ever.

According to Philadelphia Works’ April Labor Market Report, Philadelphia’s unemployment rate peaked at more than 18% in Q2 2020 — roughly two percentage points higher than Pennsylvania and four percentage points higher than the United States overall. As of February 2021, Philadelphia’s unemployment rate still looms at 11.2%.

Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) and partners have committed to support summer jobs — and you can too. The experience and money young people earn is important to families, communities and our local economy. When young people work now, we are not only creating a more equitable economic recovery, but we are ensuring that the talent of today is well prepared for the workforce of the future. Summer jobs offer young people the chance to build confidence in their skills, make meaningful contributions, and practice productive habits that will help them excel in school and life. The businesses that participate benefit, too. Every business gains a talented employee with keen insight into the priorities and needs of the next generation of workers. An investment in summer jobs is an investment in a more diverse pool of talent.

Innovating WorkReady Summer

To adapt and meet the needs of young people throughout Philadelphia, as well as better serve Philadelphia’s ever-changing workforce landscape, PYN has streamlined the WorkReady Summer application process.  This year, the program will run from July-August and will include safe in-person participation at least 3 days a week.

To ensure that more young people can easily apply to participate in the program, PYN developed new tools and resources to support young people and WorkReady program partners, including:

  • PYN’s first-ever WorkReady Summer Customer Service Center
  • A new self-serve digital program locator so youth can find the best program for them
  • More youth-facing messaging including YouTube videos

These tools and resources will help young people across the city decrease barriers that may otherwise stand in the way of them entering the workforce this summer.

To access the application and tools, visit

Summer Jobs Week 

Join the effort to increase awareness about the need for summer jobs and help raise funds to ensure that as many young people as possible can participate in valuable work experiences like WorkReady Summer. We are in the middle of Summer Jobs Week (April 12-16), a week when PYN and summer youth employment champions across the city are shining a spotlight on summer jobs. We will be talking about why summer jobs matter, how they benefit the local and business communities in the city, and the impact that they will continue to make on young people in Philadelphia. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Donate: Support the Philly Summer Jobs Fund, a campaign launched in 2020 to ensure that young people were provided summer work experiences amidst the pandemic. Donations made to the Philly Summer Jobs Fund will directly fund work experiences provided through WorkReady Summer this year.
  • Hire: Help shape the future workforce and build a local talent pipeline by committing to hire a summer intern. Anyone who signs up will receive support/resources for payroll management, administrative costs, and how to create a quality work experience.
  • Volunteer: Share your professional experiences with young people by volunteering to serve on a career panel or participate in a career day. Employers can network directly with young people and help connect a young person’s interests with professional aspirations.
  • Spread the Word: Follow @PYNinc and the hashtag #SummerJobsWeek on social media to share posts about Summer Jobs Week and the efforts to #FundPHLSummerJobs. Any additional exposure can help PYN get the word out to people who otherwise might not be aware of the need to support summer jobs.

All commitments to #FundPHLSummerJobs need to be made by May 31, to ensure that PYN and partners can meet the goal of serve 8,000 young people this summer.

Summer jobs play a crucial role in changing the trajectory of young people’s lives, creating pathways out of poverty, achieving a young person’s personal and career goals, and contributing to economic recovery efforts.

For more information about how to support summer jobs, visit

Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend is the President & CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network, a partner of Philadelphia Works.



Workforce Wednesday is in partnership with Metro Newspaper.