July 27, 2023

The Catholic University of America is hosting hundreds of Washington, D.C., youth from the city’s Department of Employment Services Summer Employment Program June 26 through August 4.

The Summer Employment Program is a locally funded initiative providing district youth ages 14-24 with employment opportunities, career exploration, work exposure, and financial literacy education from a wide range of host employers. 

Part of the Employment Program is the Marion Barry Youth Leadership Institute, a six-week summer intensive program that trains youth ages 14-17 in leadership and self-development.

The Department of Employment Services has partnered with the University since the 1990s and the program has been held on campus since 2014.

“We value our partnership with MBYLI,” said Jacques Moore, University director of events and conference services. “They’re helping kids in D.C. to better themselves, they’re teaching job and life skills to the youth. And we want to do our part as a member of the community to support that.”

Moore has worked closely with the program for the past six years, assisting the leaders and representing the University to the visiting youth. 

Although primarily a day program, the youth participants spend three nights on campus, getting the overnight college experience. About 400 youth will be staying on campus this summer, divided into four groups. 

“The University’s resolute commitment to fostering educational excellence and its support for the city's youth employment initiatives are admired and recognized,” said Kemry Hughes, interim program manager. “This relationship, we believe, has been mutually beneficial and has played a pivotal role in promoting holistic youth development and community growth.”

Originally known as the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute, it was renamed in 2014 to honor the legacy of the late former Mayor Marion Barry, who created and launched the program in 1979.

“The (institute) holds a venerable position in our calendar, marking a time when we rally together to empower and inspire our youth, not only to shape their own futures but also to actively contribute to our shared communities,” said Hughes. “We envision a continued and robust relationship between the University and the Department of Employment Services that transcends beyond the ordinary to create an indelible impact on the lives of the youth we collectively serve.”