Youth Opportunities Unlimited hoping local employers step in to offer summer jobs to Cleveland’s youth

CLEVELAND — Summer is still months away, but that’s not stopping one group from recruiting Cleveland’s teens for jobs.

The Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U) team says they need help from local employers to help hire the city’s youth this summer. The program helps the teens become self-sufficient while matching them with jobs and a one-on-one case manager to keep them on track. It also aims to strengthen Northeast Ohio’s workforce.

“Thirty percent of the population in Cleveland are below the poverty line and so people need good jobs that can pay a living wage so they can take of themselves and their families,” said Brittany Atkinson, Manager of the summer Y.O.U Youth Program.

Atkinson says job availability isn’t necessarily the problem. She says a lot of it has to do with lack of experience and systematic barriers like transportation, housing and hunger.

“Those are thing that if you’re worried about them, you’re not really worried about practicing your communication skills.”

But the pandemic isn’t helping either. Many jobs and opportunities for Cleveland’s teens were lost as partnering employers were no longer able to take on the program’s teens.

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