Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce
"Building Healthy Organizations" 

Summer Youth Initiative

The Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with The Springfield Project (TSP), sponsors a Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) which gives local youth from 15 to 21 years of age an opportunity to spend their time off from school in a productive manner by gaining new job skills while earning a paycheck. Since its inception, close to 400 youth have been employed or have participated along with over 50 businesses.

Partnerships are established with local businesses and agencies throughout the Springfield, Illinois community, which serve as job site locations where youth participants work.  Over a six week period (4-hr work days / 4 days per week), youth participants are engaged in "earn while you learn" activities to expand their job skills.

The youth participants experience working in job positions that represent administrative support, maintenance, camp counseling, and yard/landscaping projects.

Ultimately, the SYI serves to prepare qualifying youth for real-world work experience by allowing them to be evaluated on their attitude, timeliness, appearance, and overall work ethic. Emphasis is also placed on assisting youth on development in the areas of time and money management, college preparation, and professionalism.