Today, July 6, 1,000 Philadelphia young people began working at companies located throughout Greater Philadelphia as part of an initiative to create paid workplace opportunities, spearheaded by the Chamber, Mayor Michael Nutter, and WorkReady Philadelphia.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the Chamber has encouraged Philadelphia companies—from large corporations to small businesses—to change the life of a young person by providing a paid internship.

This summer, 110 businesses, foundations, and nonprofit organizations have offered to either provide or fund paid internship positions. Despite a still-struggling economy, 83 companies are returning participants from last year, representing a 66 percent retention rate.

“For far too many of our region’s ambitious and talented young people, promising careers simply seem out of reach,” said Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. “As stakeholders in the future of this region, it is our responsibility to help change that. Working with employers and our partners in workforce development, we will give the city’s youth the chance to experience a professional environment and earn a paycheck.”

The six-week internship program is part of the WorkReady Philadelphia system of programs, managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), which is serving more than 11,000 Philadelphia youth this year through this and other programs. In addition to PYN, other employer recruitment partners include the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Academies and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The Chamber has helped to identify more than 3,500 positions over the past three summers. This campaign has been successful because the Chamber’s 5,000 member companies recognized the need of Philadelphia’s young people and responded. In fact, approximately 80 percent of the companies hiring interns this summer are Chamber members.

Mayor Nutter personally contacted business executives to encourage their support of this important program.

“The Chamber has made incredible strides over recent years to increase the number of internships available at businesses throughout the city and region,” said Mayor Nutter. “This opportunity gives teens meaningful work experience, exposes them to potential career opportunities, and helps spark their interest in pursuing higher education—all of which is crucial to positioning Philadelphia for success.”

The benefits of this program are two-fold. Interns help employers grow their businesses by boosting summer productivity and completing important short-term projects. And internships represent a long-term investment in our region’s success because they give young people the tools to become capable future employees.

The Chamber’s corporate partner in this initiative is TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, which hired 25 interns this summer.

“As business leaders, we have the ability—and even more, the responsibility—to help provide the city’s young people with the crucial career enhancement skills and inspiration needed to help them reach their full potential,” said Mike Carbone, Metro Philadelphia President of TD Bank. “That’s why TD Bank is proud to partner with the Chamber to help support this wonderful city where we live, work and do business.”

Each position costs the employer about $1,600, which includes intern salary and program administration for the six-week program. Interns work at least 20 hours per week Monday through Thursday and attend professional development programs off-site on Fridays.

Internships were filled by students who will enter 11th grade or higher in the fall. All students were pre-screened by PYN and interviewed by the prospective employers.

To see a list of this year’s supporters, click here

For more information about the Summer Internships program, click here.