Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama announced last week that they will donate $2 million to summer jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in Chicago. The donation is meant to support growth in the community where Obama’s presidential library will be built.
“One of the things that we’ll be starting this year is Michelle and I are personally going to donate $2 million to our summer jobs programs here in the community,” Obama said according to The Hill at an event held at the South Shore Cultural Center. “[It’s] so that right away young people can get to work and we can start providing opportunities to all of them.”
The Obamas will personally donate $2M to support summer job and apprenticeship programs in Chicago.
Obamas Make a Commitment to Chicago’s Youth
During this event, the former president unveiled plans for the future Obama Presidential Center. He said that the center will be used to “…train the next generation of leadership.” The center will be built in the Jackson Park neighborhood and will feature a museum, a forum, and a library, as well as outdoor gathering spaces.
“More than a building or museum, the Obama Presidential Center will be a living, working center for engagement – an ongoing project for the community and world to shape what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century,” the Obama Foundation said in a press release reported by The Hill.
“The Center will include a state of the art museum, classrooms, labs, and outdoor spaces, and it will conduct programs that will give visitors not just memories, but real tools to create change in their own communities. It will be based on the South Side of Chicago but, via partnerships, programs, and digital initiatives, have projects all over the city, the country, and the world.”
The hope is that the center will help to revitalize the neighborhood by attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area as well as through creating new jobs. Obama noted that the donation is meant to help get a jump start on the foundation’s, and the center’s, mission.
“We can’t afford to wait four years to start working together,” Obama said, per CNN, “and so what Michelle and I want to do is start now.”
The Value of Summer Jobs and Apprenticeships
During the announcement, former President Obama expressed the importance and value of summer work for young people. He expressed his desire to “…reach young people who might be at risk if they don’t have something to do in the summer.”
Providing young people with opportunities to learn and grow during their school vacations is key. Summer jobs offer kids an invaluable experience that opens the door for further opportunities down the road. According to The New York Times, a study released by the Brookings Institute found that it’s harder to find a job when you’re older if you haven’t worked as a teenager.
Summer jobs and apprenticeships comes with so many benefits. They help build confidence and a sense of responsibility, as well as invaluable hard and soft skills that today’s employers demand. Working in the summer helps to foster leadership abilities, independence, and so much more.
Shouldn’t all kids have access to these kinds of opportunities? Hopefully, these efforts will help to move things in the right direction.
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