The Value of SummerWorks
Everyone benefits from SummerWorks! First and foremost, youth facing adversity get real-world work experience. Interns explore workplaces and acquire workplace skills, while earning a paycheck. No classroom can substitute for this! Second, because SummerWorks recruiting is a community effort, schools and nonprofits throughout Multnomah and Washington counties connect and collaborate. Thirdly, employers have an opportunity to influence and develop our region’s emerging talent pool while profiting from the interns’ contributions to their businesses.

SummerWorks is an established and well-known program that has served hundreds of youth annually since 2009. SummerWorks is run by a team that consists of city and county government, local nonprofits that serve youth, and private businesses. Our regional workforce development board, Worksystems, coordinates the team and raises funds year-round. Funding comes from multiple sources, including federal, state and local grants, public investment, and private sponsorships.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, SummerWorks has evolved into connecting youth not only to work experiences, but to Learning Opportunities as well. Programs are providing new opportunities for youth who may not be ready for an internship, but would like to explore both hard and soft skills needed not only in the workplace, but also for navigating everyday life. Check out some of the community-based organizations who provide learning experiences, such as Word is Bond or I Am More for more information.
The Nitty Gritty
  • Dozens of schools and nonprofits refer youth who face barriers to SummerWorks.
  • Youth apply and attend SummerWorks Orientation.
  • Businesses offer to host and sponsor youth.
  • Coaches from community organizations match youth to internships. Worksite Liaisons work with Coaches and worksites to make placements.
  • Youth complete onboarding and submit employment documents with the help of their coach. A central employer of record manages payroll.
  • Coaches support interns and supervisors throughout the summer.
  • One-on-one coaching provides youth with mentoring and support services like bus passes, work clothes or tools.
  • Youth generally work about 160 hours over the summer, averaging 20 hours/week and earning minimum wage ($15.00/hour for 2022).
  • Youth attend 10 hours of Career Lab training during the duration of SummerWorks and receive a $100 stipend upon completion.
  • Youth can earn .5 high school credit by completing a SummerWorks portfolio.
  • Multiple public and private funding sources power SummerWorks.
Refer Youth
Do you know or serve youth 16-24 who are looking for summer jobs? Tell them about SummerWorks, and encourage them to apply.

SummerWorks depends on community partners to recruit and refer youth. Our partners are school systems, youth-focused nonprofits, and other community organizations in the Portland-metro region. To learn more, contact us.

April through June are the best months for youth referrals, since that’s when coaches are matching youth with paid internships. SummerWorks also welcomes inquiries the rest of the year. We have a variety of opportunities for youth interested in work experiences outside of the summer months.

SummerWorks also depends on your community and professional connections with adults. Identifying businesses who can host, and sponsor, interns expands the internship opportunities available to our youth. So, please share SummerWorks with your network.
Host Youth
Interns increase business productivity. They can address a backlog of work. They can handle special projects or free-up other staff to focus on those special projects that are sometimes difficult to prioritize. Interns can enrich your workplace environment with their fresh perspectives and life experiences.

SummerWorks minimizes the HR impact on your business by managing payroll and other employer-of-record responsibilities. SummerWorks coaches prepare youth for the workplace by:
  • facilitating work readiness training
  • screening and matching candidates to appropriate positions
  • providing transportation and other resources
  • supporting interns & worksite supervisors during the internship.
Worksites also receive training on how to prepare to host youth. SummerWorks youth come from many different backgrounds, and their life experiences can be an asset to your business. SummerWorks offers two online training modules that empower supervisors in creating a positive environment for youth.

A combination of public and private funding pays all SummerWorks interns minimum wage, which is $15.00 per hour in 2022.

To be considered as a worksite for SummerWorks, please contact us, and describe your business in the comments field. If your business would like to increase its commitment to the underserved youth in our community, consider sponsoring the youth you host.
Sponsor Youth
For $3,400, an organization can cover all the costs of one SummerWorks intern. That’s one youth who faces barriers gaining a real-world experience that changes that youth’s life. Each $3,400 sponsorship covers wages and payroll processing; job skill development; one-on-one coaching; and support resources like transportation assistance and workplace clothing, tools and supplies.

Each $3,400 sponsorship that SummerWorks receives allows the placement of one additional youth. SummerWorks operating budget comes from a mix of federal, state and local grants, along with public investment by Multnomah County and the City of Portland. SummerWorks thus depends on private local businesses to grow the program.

If you are ready to sponsor a SummerWorks intern(s) or you would like to learn more about sponsorship, please contact us.