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Public Works & Assets Newsroom

SummerWorks Youth Cleaning Up Neglected Lots in Louisville

Thursday July 21, 2011

Mayor talks with youth earning job experience
and a paycheck this summer

Mayor Greg Fischer spent time today with some of the young adults who are working for Metro Government through the KentuckianaWorks SummerWorks2011 jobs program and helping keep the city clean and neat this summer. The mayor met with young workers at one of the job sites, 2128 W. Jefferson St.

Fischer committed $100,000 in the Louisville Metro budget to hire young people, ages 16-21, for the summer. Contributions from individuals and businesses provided an additional $400,000 to employ a total of 200 youth in positions with local nonprofit organizations and Metro Government this summer. Donors include Mr. and Mrs. David Jones Sr., Humana, Yum!, Norton Healthcare, AT&T, Caldwell Tanks, General Electric and others. Another 20 youth have been hired by private businesses as part of SummerWorks2011.

There are 51 youth helping Metro Public Works clear abandoned and vacant lots in the city. Since they began working June 14th, crews have mowed and cleaned 842 properties city-wide.

Thirty-seven youth are working with Metro Parks. They are providing lawn care services and maintenance and administrative support, as well as serving as recreation aides for community centers.

“These young employees have worked under some extreme temperatures,” Fischer said during his stop at 2128 W. Jefferson St. “But they have done an excellent job of helping our Public Works crews tackle the large number of vacant and abandoned properties in Louisville that are overgrown and in disrepair.”

Public Works usually dedicates more than 40 workers to target overgrown and abandoned lots during the summer months. With the help of the SummerWorks2011 youth, the department has been able to more than double the number of crews out mowing and cleaning lots community-wide.

The properties being targeted for cleanup have been cited by the city’s Inspections, Permits and Licensing Department. They’ve moved through the legal process and have been released for clean-up by Public Works.

In recent years, money to fund summer jobs for large numbers of local teens came from federal stimulus and state dollars designed to give low-income youth summer jobs. That money was not available this year, and the mayor called on local leaders to make summer jobs for youth a reality again this summer.

Fischer commended the Metro Council and local individuals and business leaders for helping provide meaningful job experiences to these 220 SummerWorks2011 participants.

“In my State of the City address in late January, I asked for a real commitment from Louisville’s business community of money and jobs,” Fischer said. “Teen unemployment is nearing 25 percent this summer. Young adults are competing with adult laid-off workers for entry-level jobs. We simply could not let down our youth. They depend on these summer jobs to help supplement their family’s income as well as give them spending money and opportunities to get funds for next year’s school expenses. The business community’s support for SummerWorks2011 lets these young people know there are possibilities for them in Louisville.”

Additional funding came from Metro Council members who used a total of $16,500 from their Neighborhood Development Funds to support the program. Those Council members contributing funds to SummerWorks2011 are Barbara Shanklin (District 2), Cheri Bryant Hamilton (District 5), David James (District 6), Tom Owen (District 8), Rick Blackwell (District 12), Vicki Aubrey Welch (District 13), Marianne Butler (District 15), Kelly Downard (District 16), Dan Johnson (District 21), Madonna Flood (District 24) and David Yates (District 25).

KentuckianaWorks, Greater Louisville’s Workforce Investment Board, oversees the SummerWorks2011 program. Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education contracts with KentuckianaWorks to administer the program.