Governor Deval L. Patrick
YouthWorks Summer Jobs Remarks
May 13, 2008
As Delivered

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The officials, the members from private industry, the young people, the folks from community groups have been with me now to brief me on our plans for preparing for summer jobs in the summer, this coming summer. We've have member of law enforcement of community organizations, employers and some of the young people to talk about the progress of our summer jobs initiative for the coming summer and my administration has made stronger investments in our Shannon grant program and our prevention of violence through promotion of positive youth development grant program as well as the funds that we've dedicated for summer jobs. Last year through the Youthworks programs in 25 communities more than 3200 at risk kids were connected with summer jobs. For this summer I'm very pleased to report that we've increased support by over 1.2 million dollars- an increase of more than 25 percent ;allowing us to reach more communities and more young people than ever before.

With warm weather approaching and schools letting out it's absolutely imperative that we offer constructive alternatives to guns and gangs and violence. Summer jobs are part of a comprehensive public safety strategy that includes prevention, intervention and enforcement. And it is of critical importance that we take that comprehensive approach if we want to see real reductions in violence and to promote peaceful communities.

Law enforcement responds to violence after it happens and seeks top hold those individuals responsible for their actions and we want to support local law enforcement and local policing and have taken steps to do so. But as important as it is to fighting crime, we want measures in place to stop crime before it happens and to break the cycles of crimes and violence that are claiming too many young lives communities cannot be secure through policing alone. And that is a message that the police themselves have brought home to us.

Prevention work teaches young people alternatives to violence and promotes positive activities and responsibility, helping us to tackle the roots of crime and violence in our communities, and intervention lies between the two. Connecting with at risk youth when they may already be engaged in destructive behavior and helping to remove them from situations where they are most susceptible to guns and to drugs and to the violence around them. We have put millions of dollars behind community policing, street outreach workers, Shannon grants, and after school programs because we have seen too many examples of missed opportunities and too many bright futures cut short. The other reason we have done so is because we have seen the miracles wrought buy those investments and the young people who are with us today and are living testimony to the importance of showing that we care both in the way we deal with them and the practicality of our investment in making new opportunities for them. Summer jobs and internship opportunities lead to successful-to success and safety both now and in the future. Giving kids a chance to learn about cutting edge technology while helping out at IBM this summer gives them an experience to build upon in their own careers. The skills they learn at a summer job at State Street Bank will only help them to pass the MCAS and graduate on time and go on to college.

The point is to create ways for people to imagine a different future for themselves, and then a structure through which to achieve it. I ask everyone to do their part by connecting with young people in this service.

Our youth works hotline is 866-968-8461, and I just ask the members of the media, help us publicize this; so that young people and employers can know about how to connect with each other. Once again that number is 866-968-8461.

In addition to new funding for summer jobs, I'm today providing my Secretariats with two directives for expanding the reach and effectiveness of these programs.

First, I'm asking that they continue to coordinate prevention, intervention and enforcement work across agencies to ensure that we are mobilizing all of the resources we have available and connecting communities in need with a comprehensive package of public safety, health services, and employment opportunities. That coordination among and between agencies without silos absolutely essential to the success we have achieved so far and to keeping that success growing. Second, I'm directing our secretaries to indentify and focus the coordinated approach on community hot spots, so called, across the Commonwealth where the problems of violence and gang activities are prevalent and young people are especially vulnerable. We have already seen positive results through programs like Youth Opportunities Boston, working out of the Roxbury neighborhood, here in the city, which in the first year Shannon grants provided over 1100 young people with services ranging from comprehensive waste management to employment and education services including GED preparation, alternative education and vocational training.

Our agencies will find the best opportunities to promote peaceful opportunities and concentrate much of our work there in those hot spots. We're looking forward to a great summer and to the continued expansion of this and other working and successful and high impact programs to give young people a chance and show them that they are in fact ours, all of ours, and we intend to take responsibility for them.