Credit: (Image courtesy of the City of Riverside)

Breanna Reeves |

Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson convened with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Treasury Wally Adeyemo and California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in a roundtable meeting to discuss Riverside’s $4.4 million Youth Job Corps Grant.

The #CaliforniansForAll Youth Jobs Corps is an $185 million program that was launched earlier this year under Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2021-2022 Comeback Plan to employ youth throughout the state. The program intends to connect youth to job sectors that focus on climate change, food insecurity and COVID-19 recovery.

“The idea is to give our youth access to training, access to mentors, access to positions [and] provide on-ramps,” said Dawson. 

Riverside mayor Patricia Lock Dawson sits in the center, at the head of the roundtable, next to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Treasury Wally Adeyemo (left) and California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday (right) to discuss the city’s $4.4 million Youth Corps grant on May 3, 2022 in Riverside, CA (Image courtesy of the city of Riverside)

“I’m very impressed with a lot of the young people we meet today, but the idea is to even let them know what’s out there and the types of jobs that are available to them and then to get them prepared for those jobs.”

The initiative allotted $150 million for youth workforce development across 13 of the largest cities in California including Riverside, and $35 million for programming in smaller cities and counties around the state. Among the recipients are Los Angeles which received $53 million and Long Beach which received six million dollars.

“And the idea is to say to our young people: we are going to invest in you, we’re going to create an opportunity with you because you matter. And not only do you matter, but we actually need you,” Fryday said during the press conference. “We have really big problems to solve here in California. We are facing an existential climate crisis. We are facing growing economic and racial and educational inequalities. And we need young people to serve our communities.” 

The grants are given directly to cities and counties who will develop and select job positions for youth. Community organizations and community partners will also play a role in helping cities connect youth to jobs such as Treepeople, an environmental nonprofit, Lighthouse of Hope, an organization that addresses houselessness and food insecurity and the C3 Initiative, a youth-centered STEM nonprofit organization. 

The youth corps program is open to youth who are 16 to 30 years old and who identify as a low-income individual, having difficulty finding employment, justice-involved or transitioning from foster care, among other eligibility requirements.

Community organizations such as treepeople.org, a nonprofit that inspires and supports the people of Southern California to come together to plant and care for trees, harvest the rain, and renew depleted landscapes. (treepeople.org)

“What is true here in Riverside is true throughout the country — when you have local leaders like the mayor and nonprofits come together, you can create opportunity,” Adeyemo, an Inland Empire native, said. “And what the president always says is that our goal was to use the American Rescue Plan to give people the resources they needed to create that opportunity. And one of those opportunities has been through making sure that we invest in our young people.” 

According to the mayor’s assistant, Edward Coronado, Riverside is about 60 days away from launching the youth corps program. The program will provide jobs for youth year-round and the mayor’s office has already begun to request additional funding to make the program sustainable after the initial investment runs out.

In the long run, Dawson hopes to see the grant spread across all seven wards of the city and see projects in each of the wards.

Breanna Reeves

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown. Breanna graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print & Online Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics. Contact Breanna with tips, comments or concerns at breanna@voicemediaventures.com or via twitter @_breereeves.