Before being elected, Mayor Rick Kriseman considered increased funding for St. Petersburg's summer jobs program for low-income youth, a proposal made official in his first city budget. Now he's looking to raise funding even more.
The Summer Youth Intern Program, which helps pay for young workers at local businesses over the summer recess, already existed under his predecessor Bill Foster, and was funded at $250,000 per year from 2011-14.
The program is administered by the Boley Centers, a Tampa Bay nonprofit that helps provide treatment, housing and job training to the homeless, veterans, the mentally ill and disadvantaged children.
The 2015 program lasts eight to 10 weeks between June and August. Interns from low-income families who are between 16 and 21 work for local business partners for at least 30 hours per week, and are paid $8.05 per hour, $4.02 of which is from city funding. Partners include the city, the Harbordale YMCA, Popeyes, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and others. The Boley Centers administer the payroll.
Kriseman's first budget raised the program's funding another $25,000 for the 2015 fiscal year. In his proposed 2016 budget, submitted on July 7, 2015, he's asked City Council to approve another $25,000. That would bring the program's total funding to $300,000.
Along with the summer program, Kriseman also has proposed in the 2016 budget to increase funding for the city's After School Workforce Program for low-income youth another $25,000, to $125,000. That program is for children aged 14 to 18 who meet income requirements.
There will be two public hearings on the budget in September. City Council must approve a final budget by Sept. 30. Council member Wengay Newton has been a vocal proponent for the program in the past, crediting the city's youth summer job opportunities with contributing to his success as an adult.
Kriseman promised to increase funding for the city's youth summer employment program. He bumped it up $25,000 in his first budget, and has asked for the same increase in his second. City Council must approve the 2016 increase, but the program has remained a Kriseman priority. We rate this a Promise Kept.