Researchers in a recent study say the number of young people who don’t have a job and aren’t in school could swell to 25 percent due to the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 virus.
In Philadelphia, the rate of ‘disconnected youth’ between the ages of 16 and 24 is already 17.2 percent, well above the nationwide average of 11.2 percent, according to a report published last week by the Social Science Research Council.
The data used in the study is from 2018 and does not reflect the mass layoffs and furloughs connected with the pandemic.
However, the study’s authors believe the rate will blow past data recorded following the 2008 recession, when one in seven young people were considered disconnected.
Nearly a quarter of the 20.5 million Americans who are unemployed are under the age of 24, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.
In Pennsylvania, nearly 2 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March, and 17.5 percent of the state’s population is out of a job.
At a time when many are struggling with employment, the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation is looking to hire 40 people between the ages of 19 and 24 to serve meals to kids this summer as parts of its Playstreets programs.
Every summer, residents close their streets to traffic so their blocks can serve as meal sites for students, many of whom would normally get food at school.
About 200 locations across the city will offer children 18 and younger a free lunch and snacks this year. Parks and Recreation is working with health experts to make sure recreational activities follow virus-related guidelines.
“We wanted to provide opportunities for young people to have safe environments to play and to learn with supervision that would also adhere to the Health Department’s safety protocols around protecting staff and the public from COVID-19,” Alain Joinville, a department spokesman, told Metro.
Playstreets sites, which are typically on side streets, will open on weekdays starting Monday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with grab-and-go meals distributed at noon and 3 p.m. Children must be present to pick up the food.
Joinville said Parks and Recreation is looking to hire young people to hand out meal bags, facilitate recreational activities and serve as informal mentors to neighborhood kids.
All employees will receive personal protective equipment, he added.
Those hired will start the week of June 29, get paid $10.35 an hour and work up to 7 hours a day Monday through Friday.
The deadline to apply for the job is Friday, June 29. Interested applicants should email PPR.Slip@phila.gov.
Parks and Recreation has planned to hire more than 2,000 youth and young adults this summer, Joinville said. The Playstreets jobs are part of the State/Local Internship Program.