'A hard decision to make:' Milwaukee's 'Earn & Learn' program canceled for 1st time due to COVID-19

MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee helps students find jobs through its "Earn & Learn" program every summer. That is, until this summer; the program is canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

There are still opportunities, though, for students -- they just may be limited.

Vanessa Armstrong

"It's really limiting employment opportunities for youth," Vanessa Armstrong, Department of City Development human resources officer, said of the pandemic's impact on the program.

Since 2004, the City of Milwaukee's Earn & Learn summer youth internship program has helped youths find jobs during the summer. 2020 marks the first year since that the program is canceled.

"Our departments aren't in a position to host interns this year because of various challenges," said Armstrong.

The program is designed to help people between 14 and 24 years old develop marketable skills while working in government, community and faith-based organizations.

Participants involved in Milwaukee's Earn & Learn program

Participants involved in Milwaukee's Earn & Learn program

More than 100 interns were planned to have various roles with the City of Milwaukee over the summer, but with the uncertainty of whether departments will be working in the office due to the coronavirus, that plan was canceled. Private businesses, however, will still have the option to take on summer interns through the program.

Participants involved in Milwaukee's Earn & Learn program

"To not be able to offer employment to youth that is really strongly needed, it was a hard decision to make," Armstrong said.

Despite the tough decision, the Community Work Experience program -- which is part of the Earn & Learn program -- is still accepting applications until Saturday, May 9 at 3 p.m. The program usually hires more than 1,000 interns, overseen by Employ Milwaukee.

"There are opportunities out there, they might just be limited due to COVID-19," Armstrong said.

For application information, CLICK HERE.