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RACINE — This summer the City of Racine is employing 66 youths through the eight-week-long Summer Youth Employment Program (YEP).

The program is designed to commit and invest in youth opportunities in Racine.

The initiative is led by Youth Employment Officer Kischa Buford in Mayor Cory Mason’s office.

YEP assists the youth of the community by helping them grow their skills and talents while working at City Hall.

This year’s summer program is nearing the halfway mark as it will conclude in mid-August.

Demographics represent diversity

Those enrolled in the program reflect the city’s demographics. There are 55 participants (or 84.6%) from the City of Racine. YEP participants that identify as female count for 29 (or 44.6%) of the group. Additionally, there are two participants who identify as transgender or non-binary.

Likewise, 25 (or 38.5%) of YEP participants identify as African American and/or Black, 22 (or 33.8%) identify as White, 13 (or 19.9%) identify as Latino and/or Hispanic, and three (or 4.6%) who identify as two or more races, along with one individual who identifies as Asian and/or Pacific Islander.

“The impact of the Summer Youth Employment Program on the City of Racine is incredible. This investment in our youth is a testament to the city’s commitment to their growth and development as future leaders. They are truly the future of Racine,” says Mayor Cory Mason.

Success for YEP benefits both youth and city

“The city hired nearly a dozen of last year’s participants into full or part-time roles. This is a win-win for the city,” said Buford about the program’s success.

Mayor Mason highlighted the inclusiveness that the program is bringing to the community, which in turn, builds strength from within.

“By providing meaningful employment opportunities, we are not only fostering their potential, but also building a stronger, more inclusive community. I applaud our Youth Employment Officer Kischa Buford for her dedication in making this program a resounding success,” says the Mayor.

What the youth have to say

Students have had the opportunity to explore new lines of work and grow in interested avenues of employment.

YEP participants

“YEP has been an amazing opportunity for me to help me discover my passion for communications and politics as well as meet all sorts of people in a variety of fields. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to travel to Madison for the first time to learn more about the League of Municipalities and meet Senator Wirch at the State Capitol. I look forward to the rest of the summer,” shared Luis Garcia, youth communications assistant.

Dylan Morris, a youth employee in Human Resources said he “gets to do graphic design projects for the city where it will be used somewhere. I’m positively impacting the city with my creativeness and that is an awesome feeling!”

YEP participants
YEP participants

Austyn Schoening, a current Fire Cadet who was part of Youth Employee Program last year told youth considering the program to “just do it, if you have the opportunity take it. Be persistent in this position, and don’t be shy. I feel like the Youth Employment Program set me up for success as a Fire Cadet.”

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