Summer Jobs 253: State Farm awards $20K to Tacoma youth employment program

A local youth employment program has been awarded a major grant from one of downtown Tacoma’s largest employers.

State Farm Insurance representatives were at Tacoma City Hall Tuesday to present a $20,000 check to Tacoma City Council in support of Summer Jobs 253, a program that provides paid work experience and high school credit to incoming juniors and seniors attending public schools in Tacoma. The program was launched by the City three years ago as a pilot project with 50 students (see “Tacoma pilot program links students to paid summer jobs, graduation credits,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 24, 2013). This year, the City expects 150 students will participate in the program.

The program was awarded a $4,000 grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors last year (see “Tacoma youth employment program awarded $4K grant,” Tacoma Daily Index, Jan. 24, 2014).

Summer Jobs 253 is accepting applications from students and employers to participate in the program this summer. More information is available online at summerjobs253.com.

State Farm Insurance opened a claims processing center in the former Russell Investments headquarters building, located at 909 S. A St., and the Columbia Bank Center building, located at 1301 A St., in downtown Tacoma two years ago this summer (see “Report: State Farm to open claims offices in downtown Tacoma,” Tacoma Daily Index, April 19, 2013; and “EDB picks Top 10 Tacoma, Pierce County projects,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 25, 2014).

Several people spoke in support of State Farm Insurance’s $20,000 grant and the Summer Jobs 253 program during the Tacoma City Council meeting Tuesday at City Hall.

Tony Brooks (State Farm Insurance Agent)

It’s really a pleasure to represent State Farm here today. State Farm is a strong and avid supporter of youth and youth programs. That’s why we welcome the opportunity to partner with great organizations, state agencies, and local cities across the United States. We share the same values as our partner organizations, and, in fact, part of our mission statement is to help people realize their dreams. As an active community member and coach at Lincoln High School, I can tell you that on a day-to-day basis I see the needs of these kids. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see the resilience of these kids, and a lot of them have little or no support at home. So programs like this are extremely important to definitely help these young people to realize their dreams.

Wendi Thomas (State Farm Insurance Agent)

When we received this grant application from the City of Tacoma, we immediately saw that it aligned with what is important to State Farm, and that is investing in the future of our youth. State Farm strongly supports providing high school students with the opportunity to acquire life skills, work experience, and to earn high school credit. The additional opportunity for the students to gain financial literacy and to learn about the workplace etiquette places the [Summer Jobs] 253 program squarely at the top of our list for support. We’re proud to be a part of the local business community, as you well know, and we support the City, the Tacoma School District, and the coalition of the organizations that have given the program the visibility and the prominence that it deserves.

Marilyn Strickland (Tacoma Mayor)

Summer Jobs 253 [is] now going on its third year. We started as a pilot project with about 50 students. We hope to place about 150 [students] this summer. Having a marquee sponsor like State Farm will help us attract other sponsors, as well. This check will be well-spent and is going to help support students so they can get work experience that is paid—that’s really important—and also earn high school credit if they are credit-deficient. So we’re glad to have [State Farm] in Tacoma and thank you for being such a great community partner to us.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: City of Tacoma Contract and Program Auditor Christopher Wright, State Farm Insurance Agent Tony Brooks, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and State Farm Insurance Agent Wendi Thomas met this week at Tacoma City Hall to discuss State Farm Insurance's decision to award a $20,000 grant to the Summer Jobs 253 program. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: City of Tacoma Contract and Program Auditor Christopher Wright, State Farm Insurance Agent Tony Brooks, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and State Farm Insurance Agent Wendi Thomas met this week at Tacoma City Hall to discuss State Farm Insurance’s decision to award a $20,000 grant to the Summer Jobs 253 program. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Summer Jobs 253, click on the following links: