(Washington, DC) – Today, the Bowser Administration closes out the 43rd year of the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) with the awarding of Mayor’s Opportunity Scholarships to deserving youth participants. Administered by the Department of Employment Services (DOES), MBSYEP provides District of Columbia youth their first job and has awarded over $1.2M in Mayor’s Opportunity Scholarships since 2017.
“The Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program is a legacy program for the District and is a passion project for Mayor Bowser. The District is proud to partner with local businesses to give unique and memorable experiences to our local youth,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “The majority of our participants are Black and Brown youth and will likely work for a minority-owned businesses during their summer employment experience. This allows them to see leaders who look like them managing teams and companies. August is Black Business Month, and we find it quite serendipitous that our annual program concludes during a time that we celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of Black businesses owners across the District and the nation.”
Established in 1979 by Mayor Marion S. Barry and expanded in 2015 by Mayor Bowser to include youth ages 14 – 24, MBSYEP is a locally funded initiative that provides young people in the District with six weeks of summer work experience through subsidized placements in the private and public sectors. The program partners with hundreds of District employers who provide training and work opportunities to DC’s youth to develop job skills and further educational opportunities and employment.
MBSYEP 2022 was funded to provide 14,000 District youth the opportunity to earn while they learn and explore potential career paths. MBSYEP partners with local organizations and companies that provide opportunities for youth to gain valuable professional experience in various industries across the city. This year, the program will award $265K in Mayor’s Opportunity Scholarships, ranging from $2,000 – $3,500 each for young adults ages 18-24, who have successfully attained a high school diploma or equivalent, participated in 2022 MBSYEP, and enrolled in post-secondary education or occupational skills training or the military.
As part of Mayor Bowser’s FY23 budget, $21M has been allocated to raise participant wages in training programs in all DOES programs, including MBSYEP. The budget also includes $3.4M to help small and medium business growth, and $500K to increase employer spending with minority led firms. Local Black owned businesses, particularly east of the Anacostia River, have greatly benefited from MBSYEP and the expansion of funding to hire employees. Select MBYEP youth also participate in the Marion Barry Youth Leadership Institute (MBYLI), as a year-round program founded in 1979 and designed to train DC youth with tools for leadership and professional development. The MBYLI training model emphasizes practical, hands-on experience and a holistic approach to developing leaders for the 21st century.
MBSYEP continues to be the largest summer youth employment program per capita in the country and stands as a national model. The District has been recognized as one of the top cities for summer jobs by Forbes and WalletHub. For more information on MBSYEP, please visit summerjobs.dc.gov.
The Department of Employment Services (DOES) is the District’s lead labor, workforce development agency, and is responsible for providing District residents with critical employment readiness and job training services. To learn more about apprenticeships, programs, and services offered at DOES, visit does.dc.gov or es.does.dc.gov.