In April 2016, we launched the Hire Houston Youth (HHY) program through our Office of Education. It is the first city-wide, collective impact postsecondary and workforce effort bringing together dozens of unique, outstanding partners from our diverse city. Youth, age 16–24, are offered seven-weeks paid summer jobs and internships at the City of Houston, the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. HHY serves as the facilitator to connect youth to local jobs where they are empowered with an “earn and learn” opportunity in Houston’s dynamic economy.
In 2016, HHY increased its reach from 450 youth to 1,135; in 2017, HHY offered over 5,000 job opportunities; and our biggest year to date, came in 2019 with over 11,500 jobs! In 2020, the impact of COVID-19 devastated summer youth employment programs around the Nation.
Our hard-earned gains were compromised by the pandemic, but we persevered and placed over 1,800+ youth into virtual/digital, community health, and COVID-19 related jobs and internships. We were one of the only cities in the country to actively support a summer youth employment program.

Research has shown that over the past forty years, Houston dramatically transformed from a blue-collar, industrial-era, resource-based economy to an international, high-tech, knowledge-based economy. This revolutionary transformation demands that our employees attain more education, training and technical skills, but it has proven difficult for the current system to keep up with the dramatic changes.

Over 70 percent of our residents aged 19 or younger is Latino or African American, and the educational attainment of African Americans and Latinos demonstrates a disturbing inequity. Only 20 percent of African American adults and 17 percent of Latinos have college degrees. Over a fifth of all African Americans and more than a fourth of all U.S. born Latinos lack high school diplomas. This is alarming and unacceptable!

Houston’s future is dependent on the educational success of our local youth. There is no greater predictor to the health and wellbeing of our city than the educational level of our population. The City of Houston and its many partners recognize the need for a collective, community-driven solution to this complex problem. Our youth deserve educational opportunities that connect them to the local workforce and career exploration, so they can make informed choices about their future career path in Houston’s dynamic economy.

PROBLEM

There is a growing deficit in meaningful employment and career exploration opportunities for youth, preventing them from gaining the skills to take advantage of Houston’s dynamic economy.

MISSION

To link government institutions, businesses, community organizations, and schools to offer internship, apprenticeships, and job opportunities to youth ages 16 to 24.

VISION

By 2020, Hire Houston Youth will offer a city-wide, year-round, youth workforce development program that offers learning, training, experience and resources to successfully navigate the educational, business, and neighborhood systems to empower youth to enter and succeed in Houston’s dynamic economy.

HHY Snapshot (2016-2020)

2016

Applicants – 3,000+
Employers – 57
Youth Placed – 1,135
Partners – 62
Funds raised – $150,992
Notable Accolades – White House Summer Opportunity Hub; National League of Cities’ Fellowship
Economic Impact – $2M+ generated

2017

Applicants – 3,000+
Employers – 57
Youth Placed – 1,135
Partners – 62
Funds raised – $150,992
Notable Accolades – White House Summer Opportunity Hub; National League of Cities’ Fellowship
Economic Impact – $2M+ generated

2018

Applicants – 13,000+
Employers – 293
Youth Employment Opportunities – 7,530
Partners – 353
Funds raised – $968,000 ( including Hurricane Harvey grant support)
Economic Impact – $18M+ generated into economy

2019

Applicants – 20,000+
Employers – 163
Youth Employment Opportunities – 11,518
Partners – 353
Funds raised – $283,600 (via Bank On Houston and Cities for Financial Empowerment – Financial
Empowerment Center)
Economic Impact – $26M+ generated into economy

2020 – COVID-19 Pandemic

Applicants – 5,900+
Employers – 79
Youth Employment Opportunities – 1,576
Partners –
Funds raised – $230,722
Youth Banked – 70% (via Bank On Houston and Cities for Financial Empowerment – Financial
Empowerment Center)
Economic Impact – $4M+ generated into economy
Notable Programs: COVID-19 Community Health Education Fellowship

BENEFITS TO HHY PARTICIPANTS

  • Career Exploration and Coaching
  • Financial Literacy Workshops
  • Soft Skills and Leadership Development
  • Valuable Work Experience
  • Building Social Capital and Networking

BENEFITS TO HHY EMPLOYERS

  • Trained and Skilled Workforce
  • Access to Business and Nonprofit Development Resources
  • Tax-credit Benefits
  • Network of Public, Private, and Philanthropic Partners
  • Connection to youth and communities
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