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(February 20, 2018)

Omaha’s Step-Up summer jobs program is expanding.

“Today marks a new chapter,” said Empowerment Network President Willie Barney. “We really want to thank the Mayor and City Council for the investment that will make expansion possible.”

The City has been a supporter of Step-Up since it started eleven years ago.  In 2014, Mayor Jean Stothert increased funding to $500,000 annually, this year, she doubled the City’s commitment to $1 million.

“We invest more money in step-up than any other jobs program because it works,” said Mayor Stothert.

Step-Up places youth and young adults, ages 14-21, in summer jobs.  In 2017, 1,600 people applied for work offered through Step-Up, 500 were placed in jobs or internships.  This year, with the increased in City funding, up to 700 can be placed in jobs.

“Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and I firmly believe there is a direct connection between Step-Up and a reduction in violent crime during the summer months.  We have an overall declining violent crime rate because of great relationships with community partners like the empowerment network,” said Mayor Stothert. “Now, I am asking Omaha businesses to support Step-Up with a financial contribution or a job opportunity. We depend  on our generous business and philanthropic community to make this program successful.”

Step-Up has been a summer only employment and training program since it started.  Now, Step-Up is partnering with Omaha Public Schools to identify the career interests of the students placed in summer internships, and enroll Step-Up participants in classes that align with their goals.

“If we know this works in the summer, we know it can work year-round,” said Step-Up Director Jami Anders-Kemp.

Omaha City Councilman and CHI Vice-President Pete Festersen announced CHI will fund eight scholarships for nursing assistants through Step-Up and Metro Community College, after completing the academic program, students will be offered full-time jobs.

Applications for summer jobs will be accepted through March 11.  Applications and information for employers is available at  

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