Beyond the Paycheck: The Power of a Summer Job

For teens in Chicago, a summer job can mean a lot more than a paycheck. It’s an opportunity to develop skills, grow personally, and test out the working world to find their passions. Through an apprenticeship program spearheaded by After School Matters (ASM), teens learn marketable skills from professionals in a range of industries – from the culinary arts, sports, music, fashion design, and more – in a summer apprenticeship. This summer, over 9,000 teen in Chicago will participate – double the number from just four years ago.

ASM apprentices practice teaching softball skills to young students.

Working with young students, ASM apprentices find that encouragement is key.

Recently, Every Hour Counts toured an ASM apprenticeship program in action and heard from students what it meant to them. We visited Curie Metropolitan High School where ASM’s Sports37 program offers an apprenticeship for students to learn about athletics and prepare to become a youth sports instructor. In the spring semester, Sports37 participants attend an after-school program where they learn sports skills as well as the skills to develop lesson plans and manage a group of young children. On our visit, we saw teens working with kindergarteners on the mechanics of throwing a ball and hitting a ball off a tee. Balls were flying, the kindergarteners were having a blast, and the teens got to practice their coaching skills one-on-one. By the summer, these teens will be ready to secure paid jobs within the Chicago Parks Department as youth coaches. In a tough job market for teens, After School Matters participants have the skills and the hands-on experience to land a great summer job.

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