Youth Programs

Youth Programs


The Department of Employment Services' Passport To Work/Summerworks program assists youth in securing temporary summer employment during their recess from school. The program provides work experience opportunities, academic enrichment programs, assorted arts programming, and world-of-work orientation. Workers are placed in public and private sector jobs throughout the Washington metropolitan area and are paid $5.15 per hour or more depending on the skills required for the job.

Any District of Columbia resident age 14 to 21, regardless of family income, can apply. However, those youth who are economically disadvantaged and face one of six employment barriers under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) will be given priority.


School-to-Work Opportunities is a comprehensive system of education and workforce development training that successfully prepares students for college and careers. School to Work links education reform with workforce and economic development that reflects District wide education, employment and training opportunities.

Major Features:

  • Actively involves employers in the development of work-based learning opportunities for students
  • Redesigns and implements challenging curricula
  • Provides training opportunities for teachers, employers, work place mentors and counselors
  • Promotes partnerships among employers, labor, education, government and community organizations
  • Work with local groups to introduce students, parents and educators to connections between classroom activities and learning on the job
  • Integrates academic and occupational learning
  • Establishes linkages between secondary and post secondary education
  • Students must obtain experience and understanding in all aspects of an industry


The Mayor's Youth Leadership Institute was founded in 1979 as a year-round program designed to train District of Columbia youth in the concepts of leadership and self-development. The MBYLI training model emphasizes practical, hands-on experience and a holistic approach to developing the leaders of the 21st century. Each year, 250 young people participate in the year-round program and 500 youth participate in the Summer Training Program; thousands of District of Columbia Youth have been provided leadership training to date.

Members of the Institute come from a wide cross-section of ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds, reflective of the general population of the city. Leadership development training begins for members of the Institute at age 14, and generally concludes at age 17, when they are ready for college. The Institute is strongly supported by two auxiliary groups, the Parents Association and the Alumni Association, which meet regularly to demonstrate an active involvement, and to generate support for the Institute as needed.

New members are recruited during the spring for the six-week summer training program, which coincides with the city's summer jobs program. In order to qualify, applicants MUST be registered with the current year's Summerworks/Passport to Work employment program.

The curriculum and related activities of the Institute focus on three primary areas:

Personal Growth: Self-Awareness, Building Self-Esteem, Conflict Resolution, Values Clarification and Interpersonal and Life Skills.

Careers: Job Readiness and Retention, Career Exposure, Entrepreneurship and Internships.

Community Development: Community Service, Organizational Skills and the Political Structure of the District Government. Youth leaders are active in a variety of programs and special projects, which allow them to demonstrate their learned skills. Past activities have included "The Youth Government" which is a replication of the District of Columbia's Government, "Operation: Shadow the Leader", designed to give youth an opportunity to spend an entire day with D.C. Government officials to see first hand how plans and decisions are made in various departments of the city government, and serving as hosts to other youth visiting the District from cities across the U.S. and as panelists in a discussion on innovative programs under youth leadership and the National Association of Counties (NACO), 1997 Legislative Conference.


YOI will provide services to the 2,000 targeted youth of the District of Columbia's Enterprise Community areas, with the new Youth Opportunity Centers (YOC). These centers will carry out the service delivery strategy for moving youth (80% out-of-school and 20% in-school) into advanced training, education and viable careers.

The YOI will provide the following:

  • Enhanced educational opportunities via tutoring, literacy and technical skills training, dropout prevention programs, ESL, GED and HS degree preparation courses, advancement to higher education;
  • Direct pathways to employment via job training, summer employment, internships, job shadowing, work experiences and placements;
  • Personal and social support via mentoring, life skills training, drug use prevention, mental health services and child care and transportation support;
  • Leadership development via conflict resolution training, recreational programs and community service opportunities.

Eligible Participants
Youth residing in the target community are eligible to be served regardless of family income. Youth must simply be between the ages of 14 and 21 at enrollment, reside in the target area, be legal U.S. residents, and males ages 18 and above must be registered as required by the Selective Service Act.

For further information on all of the Youth Programs call (202) 698-3991.