Right Track: Summer Jobs for Saint Paul Youth

Right Track: Summer Jobs for Saint Paul Youth

“Business, government, schools, and communities must come together in new ways to get young people on the right track to future careers. The strength of our local economy depends upon their success.” – Mayor Christopher B. Coleman

[UPDATE: Youth application period is now closed]

The Saint Paul Right Track program, formerly known as Youth Job Corps (YJC), provides meaningful work experiences for youth ages 14-21 who are from a low-income family or have a barrier to employment. Each summer Right Track employs over 400 youth at over 100 different worksites in Saint Paul -- an important feat considering the Twin Cities have among the nation's highest racial gaps in employment, and Saint Paul's teen unemployment rate was 32 percent in 2012. Right Track is working to bring together the City of Saint Paul, Saint Paul Public Schools, businesses, and community-based organizations to provide work readiness and employment opportunities for many of these youth who otherwise may not have access to such experiences.

The Right Track application for summer jobs is available online Feb. 17 through March 14. Once a young person has been accepted into Right Track, they can search the Right Track Job Bank to discover summer job openings where they can gain valuable lifelong skills like Harding High School student DeShaun Baker did as an intern at Xcel Energy last year. "It was a great opportunity and an experience from which I’ve grown," DeShaun reflected. All applicants are required to interview for positions, and to help young people prepare for their foray into the professional world, Right Track has compiled a Youth Toolbox which includes resume writing advice, interview tips, and guidance on how to be successful in the workplace.

At age 16, Mayor Coleman started work as a busboy at a Chinese restaurant, but not all youth are able to get started with work experiences at an early age. "Unfortunately, one-third of Saint Paul teens are unemployed," Coleman explains. "We have immense diversity but struggle with educational gaps and disparities. Youth employment is a part of the solution." Matt Kramer, president of the Saint Paul Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, adds, “This is about developing a pipeline of future employees … It starts right now and pays dividends for years to come."

For more information about Right Track, whether you're a young person interested in employment or an employer looking to work with Saint Paul teens, visit www.stpaul.gov/RightTrack.