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Youth Ready For Summer Work, Despite Lagging Economy

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By Peter Granitz

The school year is winding down in Washington and students are lining up work for the summer. Despite high unemployment rates and a weak economy some kids need the income.

This summer's Youth Employment Program is part of last year's budget. It puts students to work for six weeks at a cost of more than 22 million dollars.

Deborah Shore is the executive director of the Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a nonprofit assisting needy kids. She says jobs mean a tremendous amount to students in the District for a number of reasons.

"So many young people in our city that don't have a lot of resources really are expected to help contribute to their own clothing and the other things they need just to stay in school. This is not just extra mad money," says Shore.

Shore estimates that between half and three quarters of D.C. kids are unemployed.

Jasmine Williams is waiting to get a job with the program this summer. It'll be her second job ever after working for this year's census. She hopes to get some good career skills in the next few months, or at least better preparation for college. She's graduating from Eastern High this spring, as a junior.

"You can put what preferences you have for work in order of what you want the most. I put social work first and arts and media second. They'll place me that way," says Williams.

Mayor Adrian Fenty is proposing a ten-week program for next summer at a cost of just more than this summer's six week version.

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