By Mayor Martin J. Walsh
If you asked anyone working today, I bet they can remember their first summer job. It might have been flipping burgers, lifeguarding at the community pool, or helping kids as a camp counselor. Growing up, everyone in my neighborhood had a summer job — it meant independence, and extra money in your pocket.
I remember my first job — I was a doughnut finisher at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Andrew Square. The work wasn’t glamorous. I started early in the morning, before the store opened, getting doughnuts ready for sale. I got the store ready for the morning rush, unpacked incoming shipments, and decorated the doughnuts for sale. I wouldn’t call myself a baker, but I surprised myself with the new skills I learned.
Whenever I go to Dunkin’ Donuts now, I think back to the time I spent there as a teenager. A lot has changed since I worked there in the early 1980s. Technology has transformed the way we find jobs. But I know my first summer job is similar to other young people’s experiences today. Everyone’s career needs to start somewhere, and that’s where I got my start.
In many ways, my first job helped influence who I am today — it taught me the value of hard work, the importance of the basics like showing up on time and following through on your responsibilities, and the proud feeling that comes from earning your own money. It also made me realize how crucial summer jobs are for a young person’s personal growth.
That’s why as mayor, I am so supportive of summer jobs and other part-time jobs for Boston’s young people. These are positive experiences that every young person should have, especially as they navigate their teenage years and prepare to enter adulthood. These jobs build confidence and work ethic, putting young people on a track to success.
With the importance of summer jobs in mind, I encourage all students in Boston to sign up for SuccessLink, an online tool from Boston Centers for Youth & Families, that enables Boston youth to register for summer jobs. Through SuccessLink, young people can register for the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, get connected to resources and join civic engagement initiatives designed to empower youth. In 2017 alone, 3,015 young people were hired through the SuccessLink program. Visit the website at boston.gov/summerjobs. Just last weekend, we had over 1,000 young people attend a summer youth job and resource fair at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury — it was incredible to see such a strong turnout.
Through SuccessLink, we’re growing the opportunities available for our young people, and connecting them to high-quality summer jobs. We’ve established new partnerships with community organizations and worked with employers to recruit more young people. As SuccessLink continues this summer, we’re prepared to offer a record number of Boston students a chance at a high-quality summer job.
SuccessLink offers more than just a paycheck. By partnering students with meaningful jobs at community and nonprofit groups, we empower them to develop their skills and expertise. They have access to hands-on mentorship and guidance, as well as network opportunities that create lasting professional pathways to success.
One example is Alex, a sophomore at the Josiah Quincy Upper School. Last summer, Alex applied for SuccessLink and worked at the BCYF’s Youth Engagement & Employment office. He helped other teenagers obtain employment while also using the experience to develop his communication skills. Because of his experience through SuccessLink, Alex has the confidence and expertise to explore other exciting jobs this summer and in the years ahead.
Alex’s story, like the stories of so many other young people here in Boston, shows the power of summer jobs. Having job experience makes Boston’s youth excited for their future, and for finding and achieving their dream job someday. This promise of summer jobs is how we support our young residents, helping prepare them — our City’s future workforce — for success. I encourage all Boston teens to visit the SuccessLink portal on Boston.gov and apply for a summer job.
Whether it’s your first job or your fifth, I can promise you it’ll be an unforgettable summer experience. And hopefully, just like my time at Dunkin’ Donuts so many years ago, you will learn skills and make connections that will shape you for years to come.
Students can apply for summer jobs through SuccessLink online by visiting boston.gov/summerjobs. Registration is due by March 30.