City program uses summer jobs to reduce youth violence - KMOV.com

City program uses summer jobs to reduce youth violence

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Participant Jordan Butler shows Mayor Francis Slay the video game she developed in her internship. Participant Jordan Butler shows Mayor Francis Slay the video game she developed in her internship.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

St. Louis city administrators believe they have found a solution to the frequent question of job and career opportunities available for young African-Americans.

City leaders have tackled the situation head-on with the third year of the STL Youth Jobs program, which provides summer job and internship opportunities for under-privileged youth.

The program began in 2013, but grew exponentially after a surge of funding following the protests and unrest in Ferguson last year.

"We started with just under 100 the first year, now this year (we have) about 1400 young people," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

Young people such as 18-year-old Jordan Butler participated in the program this summer. Butler spent the summer interning at the TechArtista Coworking Center in the Central West End.

"I basically sat at a desk all day and made video games and designed web sites," said Butler.

Mayor Slay believes the program could have an impact on raising expectations for youth.

"I feel more confident about my future because I feel more confident about what I want to do when I grow up," said Butler.

Another intern in the STL Youth Jobs program, Tony Junnjr spent the summer designing an app to assist college students find rides home. He said opportunities like the program and a good education can definitely help reduced violence on the streets of the St. Louis area.

"If they're going to be running around and not using their time wisely to progress in a career path, then they'll resort to things that happened in Ferguson and things like that, so I think its very important to have things like this out there," said Junnjr.

The STL Youth Jobs program is funded through private donations. A donation by JP Morgan Chase funded 45 jobs for the program this summer.

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