Oakland initiative aims to employ young people


The "100 Blocks Initiative" is designed to target some of the cities toughest neighborhoods. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan believes that young people who are given professional opportunities for development early on make different choices than what their surroundings often dictate. Because of efforts by the Quan administration, there are at least 700 job opportunities in the city's parks and recreation, police, fire, public works and Oakland public housing departments.

The city's 100 Blocks Initiative focuses on creating positive change on the 5 percent of the city that sees more than 90 percent of violent crime and according to the mayor, troubling unemployment numbers that she places at 20 percent for East Oakland. "Barack Obama took the 500 jobs we were getting and made it a thousand jobs, and then we went to zero," Quan said.

"Having people expect a certain level of responsibility from you is very important in building young people's confidence and agency, and making them feel really a part of something," said Jahmil Lacey with "Youth Uprising."

Since there will be no money coming from Washington, the mayor is depending on public and private grants as well as her own budgeting efforts from the city funds to introduce young people to the workforce. "Summer jobs will not distract us with the streets and it would help us not do bad things," jobseeker Audae Wilson told ABC7.

The jobs are designed for residents of Oakland. The goal is to provide 1,000 jobs this summer with 50 percent of those jobs going to students who live in the "100 Blocks" neighborhood.

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