by Moxye Staff

Memphis usually employs about 1,000 young workers, ages 14 to 22, for six weeks over the summer, but one Memphis City Councilman doesn’t think that’s enough.

Councilman Edmund Ford Jr. presented a resolution Tuesday for increasing the MPLOY Summer Youth Jobs program from 1,250 to 2,000 participants over a three-year period and adding staffers to help run the program.

“In order to make this happen, I am asking that we strongly consider adding three youth coordinators and hire a job developer for every 125 youth,” Ford said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland also presented an initiative, with Ford, to provide community center summer camps free of charge. The initiative is expected to cost about $200,000.

Ford sees MPLOY as a way for young people to gain the skills necessary to fill the thousands of positions and jobs open across the city.

“It costs the city $2,000 to fulfill a salary for one youth; that’s $2.5 million being spent,” Ford said. “It’s been brought to my attention all that money is coming from our budget. … Hopefully over time, we will have public, private and others who will come in and say, ‘This is something I want to be a part of, not just this one time, but every year.'”

Last spring, the Office of Youth Services launched an initiative asking each company and church in Memphis to commit to employing and compensating one teen for six weeks during the summer.

Speaking directly to Strickland, Ford said, “I know, with a lot of your initiatives, you are able to get both private and public funds.”

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