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Brown raises summer youth jobs goal to 2,500

When Byron W. Brown became mayor last year, one of his early priorities was to create 1,000 new summer jobs for young people.

Partnering with local businesses, community groups and the Buffalo Employment and Training Center, the city found work for 1,774 youngsters, an increase of 459 from a year earlier.

Still, the city missed its target by 55 percent. Brown made it clear at a meeting of Buffalo's accountability panel Friday that he expects more-aggressive efforts this summer.

Brown told community services officials who made their debut at CitiStat that he wants to see them place 2,500 young people in jobs, an increase of more than 700.

The department had set a goal of 400 new job placements. Not good enough, the mayor insisted. He said his travels across the city have convinced him there are thousands of young people who are eager to find jobs.

"We all have to work harder to give youth in Buffalo that opportunity," he said, adding that if more minors are at job sites, there will be fewer problems in neighborhoods.

The head of the city's Youth Division said he is determined to meet Brown's target this time. Otis T. Barker Sr. said he thinks last year's job-creation track record was laudable, given the fact that "it was all new" to an administration that had taken office several months earlier.

Finding jobs for 2,500 young people won't be an easy task, Barker said, but he thinks it can be accomplished.

"We're going to need the assistance of the entire community," Barker said.

The city is looking for businesses to place young people in jobs, sponsor them at other work sites, or donate to a charitable fund that finances youth initiatives such as job training.

Brown will play an active role in selling the crusade, First Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey said.

"This mayor will pick up the phone and ask them to help us," said Casey, adding that many businesses have already stepped forward.

Proceeds from a Feb. 20 luncheon will go to Brown's Fund to Advance Buffalo, an initiative that provides money for education, job training, financial literacy and other youth-oriented efforts.

The $30-per-ticket luncheon will be at noon in the Buffalo Convention Center.

Brown made it clear that he expects the summer jobs program to hit its target.

"We're giving them the resources to make that happen, and we expect to see results," he said.


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