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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off 2017 Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment, Celebrates Program’s Permanent Expansion

Monday, June 26, 2017
Announces New Scholarship that Will Give 25 Participants $2,000 toward Post-Secondary Education, Military, or Occupational Training

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser celebrated the first day of the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) by announcing a new scholarship program for MBSYEP participants. MBSYEP is in its 38th year, and today, nearly 13,000 participants ages 14 to 24 are beginning their summer work experience at more than 800 private sector and government worksites across Washington, DC. 

“Connecting our young people to good-paying jobs is critical to setting them up for success and expanding prosperity in DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “For many young Washingtonians, MBSYEP is their entry into the workforce and a first step on a pathway to the middle class. We are proud to have permanently expanded this opportunity to thousands more young people in Washington, DC.”

Through the Bowser Opportunity Student Scholarship, the Administration will select 25 MBSYEP participants to each receive a $2,000 scholarship towards post-secondary education, military, or occupational training. Scholarships will be awarded at the 2017 MBSYEP Closing Ceremony at Eastern Senior High School on Friday, August 4.

In 2015, Mayor Bowser introduced legislation to expand MBSYEP to include young Washingtonians between the ages of 22 and 24, and this year, the expansion became permanent. In 2017, over 22,000 youth applied to participate in MBSYEP and approximately 2,700 of those applicants were between the ages of 22 and 24. Nearly 1,400 of the 22-24 year-old applicants have been certified to participate in the program. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of certified participants are from Wards 7 and 8, where unemployment rates and the opportunity gap are the highest.

“MBSYEP is more than just a first job. It is an opportunity for District youth to identify and envision career paths, build confidence, and cultivate a belief that they can be successful members of our community,” said DOES Director Odie Donald II. “We’re excited to have so many amazing DC-area employers who are partnering with us to provide positive experiences for our youth.”

Host employers include area universities and schools, federal and local government agencies, major corporations, local businesses, hospitals, urban farms, and other community groups. Participants receive transportation assistance to get to their worksites, financial literacy lessons, and have access to success coaches and mentors to support them throughout the program. Additionally, MBSYEP offers professional development for young adults, Fire and EMS pre-cadet training, and a summer leadership program offered by the Marion Barry Youth Leadership Institute.

New in 2017 is the rollout of the CareerEdge mobile platform, which allows participants to complete orientation and professional development sessions on their mobile devices. As participants successfully work through interactive curriculum modules that focus on issues such as time management and workplace etiquette, they will earn digital badges that highlight their progress and attainment of new skills. 

Established in 1979 by Mayor Marion S. Barry, today MBSYEP is one of the largest summer jobs programs in the country and stands as a national model. Recently, Washington, DC has been recognized as one of the top cities for summer jobs by and This year, MBSYEP runs through August 4.

For more information about MBSYEP, contact [email protected].