On May 12, 2016, FOCUS St. Louis, the region’s premier leadership organization, will honor 20 organizations, individuals, and initiatives that are making a difference at the 19th annual What’s Right with the Region! awards celebration. The honorees were nominated by the public and selected by a panel of community judges for their impact and service to the community.
Responding to Community Needs & Entrepreneurs
Honorees are new organizations that are developing practical solutions, responding to identified needs and serving as catalysts for change.
Alive and Well STL
The Ferguson Commission
STL Youth Jobs
STL Youth Jobs, a program that provides eight weeks of employment and work-readiness training to city youth, is accepting applications through May 31 for summer employment this year.
A collaborative effort by partners including MERS/Goodwill, Incarnate Word Foundation, the city of St. Louis, and St. Louis Community Foundation, STL Youth Jobs has provided summer work to over 1,300 young people since summer 2013. In summer 2015, the program directly supported over 400 job opportunities for St. Louis youth and worked with over 115 employers, officials said. For nearly half the participants, this was their first job experience, and over 94 percent of employers agreed to participate again, officials said.
Participating youth must be between 16 and 24 years of age and live in one of the following neighborhoods: Penrose, O’Fallon, Baden, Mark Twain, Walnut Park East, Walnut Park West, Dutchtown, Gravois Park, Tower Grove East or Bevo-Mill.
He starts each morning with a bus ticket and a business goal.
Mahleek Dailey, 18, is the rider. He calls men “sir” and has a quiet, studious persona. At home, they call him “tech guy.”
During the week, he picks up the No. 74 Metro bus near North Kingshighway Boulevard, rides along West Florissant Avenue and walks several blocks to his job at Computer Village, in the basement of the Prince Hall Family Support Center on Newstead Avenue south of Interstate 70.
He got the job at the computer-help organization through STL Youth Jobs — a collaboration led by the St. Louis mayor’s office, the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, MERS Goodwill, the Incarnate Word Foundation and a host of other public and private stakeholders. The job-finding group partners with employers around the St. Louis area to provide work opportunities to city youth during the summer.
The program aims to provide more than just income.
“It’s a unique situation,” Goodwill program coordinator Patrick McCulloch said. “Usually kids are just going to work at a restaurant, a small business, something like that. They’re just working.”
Participants with STL Youth Jobs are required to complete job readiness training before starting. In addition, participants are required to open up a bank account if they don’t have one. The bank then provides financial education to the youth.
Out of approximately 1,000 applications this year, 400 people were selected. Most are picked from high-crime neighborhoods. All youth can work up to 160 hours starting around June.