Council antes up $50,000 more for Summer Jobs

Jobs for kids seeking work during the summer vacation are scarce to non-existent in Chelsea and in all surrounding communities. While the stock market has come back from the depths following the near collapse of the US economy three years ago, jobs in general have not been generated and summer jobs for kids has tanked.

If you’re a kid trying to get yourself a position for the summer in this city you are out of luck. Summer jobs are far and few between.

Yet summer jobs are critical for youth and their families.

City Council President Marilyn Vega-Torres sees summer jobs as a public safety venue. Obviously, she views summers jobs as a way for kids to save for college or to provide for household expenses.

“Keeping our kids work during the summer makes better citizens of them,” she said.

Each summer job slot in Chelsea costs about $1,400.

The council already committed $150,000 to summer jobs when last week, it added an additional $50,000 and tossed it into the jobs pot.

A large portion of the money devoted to Chelsea’s summer jobs this year came from a settlement Attorney General Martha Coakley negotiated on behalf of the city with an environmental polluter.

“We’re appreciative of  Martha Coakley’s efforts, as well as our legislative delegation of Representatives Eugene O’Flaherty and Kathi-Anne Reinstein and Senator Sal DiDomenico for their support.  This money came to us as a result of some bad actions, but it will make a positive difference in many lives this summer,” Councillor Calvin Brown said.

Councillor Brian Hatleberg said he was excited by the prospect of employing so many young people when jobs are so hard to find.

A part of the money being used from the settlement will fund a bilingual senior advocate at the Senior Center and for the purchase of a DPW truck with a snow plow.

“This is a one-time award, so it’s appropriate to use it for some one-time expenses.  We’re able to help some kids and their families out; make sure our seniors, especially our Spanish-speaking seniors, have access to quality services, and avoid the borrowing costs and interest charges involved in replacing a piece of equipment that will help keep our streets clean and safe during snow storms next season.  Those seem like great uses of the funding and another way to ensure that our entire community is benefiting from what City government is doing,” explained Hatleberg.

The original request for funding came from City Manager Jay Ash, who said that the City is currently reviewing funding requests from local community organizations that have been engaged with local youth around summer jobs and other programming.

“We’re certainly hoping for multiple bangs from these bucks,” said Ash.  “We’re lucky to have excellent organizations doing such great work with our terrific kids.  I’m sure with the funding support that we’re providing there will be many good outcomes for our kids this summer.”

In addition to the Coakley settlement, the City budget provides $50,000 annually for summer jobs, while State funding of $100,000 will also be added to the City distribution to community organizations.

“Everyone’s budgets are tight, and it’s understandable how some foundations might not be able to contribute as much as they have in the past.  In the case of our State dollars, my colleagues and I continue to prioritize summer job money, and we’re thrilled to see the City putting it to such good use,”  reported Rep. O’Flaherty.

“Another 35 or 40 jobs, on top of the 125 or so that our community partners are already hiring, is really great news.  However, the need our there is great, so any business that can hire another kid or two or any other benefactor that can provide financial support will really be doing all of us a huge service,” concluded Councillor Deborah Washington.

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