Jersey City Youth Works

In order to grow the vitality of Jersey City and expand career opportunities for youth, in 2014 the JCEDC launchd what is now known as Jersey City Youth Works (formerly Jersey City Summer Works), a multi-program public-private initiative that offers summer employment and enrichment for Jersey City residents ages 16-24. To date, these programs serve more than 1,000 youth and young adults each summer through partnerships with over 30 corporations and nonprofits.

Jersey City Youth Works Programs:

The Jersey City Summer Internship (JCSI) is the premier program of the Youth Works initiative. JCSI is a competitive youth internship program sponsored by the JCEDC in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor, Jersey City Public Schools, and more than two dozen of the City’s leading firms and institutions. Public high school students undergo a rigorous selection and orientation process to participate in high-caliber paid internships. They receive mentorship and earn academic credit for attending weekly professional development classes.

In 2017, 82 students participated in the program—a growth of 67% since the program’s first cohort in 2014. At the end of the summer, 87% of intern supervisors reported these students performed on par with or better than college interns; 95% said they would serve as JCSI supervisors again in the future; 95% said their companies would likely be receptive to hosting more JCSI interns next summer; and across a range of 15 soft-skills, supervisors reported nearly 95% of students were proficient at the beginning of the summer and the majority continued to improve over the course of the internship.

City Youth Jobs places residents ages 16 to 24 in paid internships within city departments and agencies across Jersey City each summer. Youth complete a competitive application process for this opportunity to see how city government works while gaining meaningful work experience and earning money.

Saturday Jump Start provides free, weekly professional enrichment programming throughout the summer for youth ages 15-21. Activities are geared toward leadership skill development, team building, and expanding college and career knowledge.

The Summer Works Public Art program combines fine art instruction with paid art apprenticeships that allow youth to express their artistic creativity while creating murals throughout Jersey City. Public school students selected through a competitive portfolio review process learn public art techniques while engaging in research and group decision making in a deadline oriented environment.

Launched in 2016, the Jersey City Youth Counsel is a youth court program available to help first-time youth offenders who have committed minor offenses get back on track and avoid court involvement. These young people appear before a judge and jury of their peers — other Jersey City teenagers who are hired for these positions following a rigorous application and training process — who determine fair and appropriate sanctions while simultaneously gaining invaluable leadership, research, and analytical skills.