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Youth employment to deter youth violence in Atlanta

Youth employment to deter youth violence in Atlanta
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 10:18 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The city of Atlanta is promising youth employment to thousands as a strategy against youth violence.

Mayor Andre Dickens made the initiative official during a Friday ‘signing day.’

“These are our children, it’s our responsibility,” crime prevention advocate Bruce Griggs told CBS46. He is frustrated with the latest crime data.

By the end of April, Atlanta Police made at least 180 arrests involving teens, according to records provided by the agency.

After learning of one too many of the crime scenes this year, Griggs fears what the city could look like come summer.

“I feel,” he paused. “Because I’ve been doing this violence prevention work for quite a while, [I feel] that we’re going to have one of the most dangerous summers.”

Community advocates have applauded ongoing efforts, like the city’s new midnight basketball league, to reach youth before the gangs reach them. But Griggs says it will require more than the sports.

It’s why Mayor Dickens says Atlanta will partner with businesses to employ 3000 youths between ages 14 to 24, for June and July.

Dickens held a ‘signing day’ event for this pledge Friday morning.

“Earn money, develop critical thinking skills, and partake in meaningful work experiences that they can build on to set the stage for future success,” the mayor explained.

The city would support the businesses that become worksites for the program. The wage would be at least $12 per hour for 20 hours or more, weekly. It would also include options for trade certifications and internships.

Dickens added, “Atlanta needs this and our youth needs this to move our city forward.”

Griggs believes while the jobs are a start, activists like him are critical to teaching kids, now more than ever, conflict resolution.

“We’ve got to deal with that behavior. We’ve got to change their beliefs. We’ve got to deal with their values before they go to work, we got to do that.”

Click here if you’re looking to be an employee or an employer as part of the program.