June 18, 2012 – As part of the City’s efforts to reduce crime, and increase employment opportunities in Omaha, Mayor Jim Suttle, the Empowerment Network and more than 35 area businesses provided summer jobs to nearly 600 young people between the ages of 14 and 24.   This week those youth will begin working at various jobs throughout the city. 

“The City is grateful to the Empowerment Network, Omaha businesses, representatives of our philanthropic community and many of our city’s community partners “stepped-up” to make sure our young people received training for the valuable workplace experiences they are beginning today and may continue beyond the summer months,” said Mayor Suttle. “Employment provides a structured alternative to negative activity on the streets and deters young people from the temptation of gangs and guns.”

“We asked businesses and philanthropic organizations to invest in STEP-UP Omaha, a Summer Training Employment Pathway and Urban Pipeline providing workforce development, mentoring and life changing job opportunities for hundreds of youth in our city,” said Willie Barney, Executive Director of the Employment Network. “More than 35 businesses and organizations made a commitment to our youth.  We believe this kind of commitment will help Omaha curb violence and provide kids hope for a productive and prosperous future.”

While Omaha overall experiences a 4.4% unemployment rate, that’s not the case in some areas of our city where unemployment is as high as 25 to 30 percent. More than one million dollars was raised between the City, businesses and community partners to support this summer jobs program citywide.

“Our City is dependent on the success of our young people and we must make sure they are given every chance to gain the skills necessary for a successful career,” said Mayor Suttle. “I am confident that this citywide effort will be a great benefit to many youth in areas of high unemployment and to our city as a whole.”

Learn more about the program at http://stepupomaha.com/