In Tacoma, there are few options to help address the challenges of high youth unemployment, low on-time graduation rates, and poor financial literacy skills among students ages 14-18. With these obstacles, students do not have adequate access to the skills and experiences they need to graduate on time and succeed in the 21st century workforce.
Marilyn Strickland has helped lead the development of Summer Jobs 253 (SJ253), a program that allows incoming high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn credit toward graduation while working as an intern for a local business. Students in the program work up to 96 hours for an employer as well as attending an additional 24 hours of classroom time to learn resume writing, interviewing, and financial literacy skills. The City coordinates the robust partnerships that make the program work because of growing support in the business community and amongst private and corporate donors. The Summer Jobs 253 program has helped connect high-risk students to the skills they need to graduate on time, enter the workforce prepared, and establish bank accounts to help save for their future.