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"I wouldn't mind getting anything right now, so it doesn't matter what it is, I'm not picky," said Ezra Brenes, a youth job seeker.
"It makes the kids feel productive, it makes them make their money and most importantly it gets them off the streets where so much crime is happening," said Gov. Schwarzenegger. "It gets them away from the gangs, from the violence, from the alcohol, from the drugs and all of those things."
More young people will get their first job through the program thanks to the federal government. L.A. will receive $20 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund the program.
"We're going to get 16,500 summer youth jobs thanks to President Barack Obama," said Mayor Villaraigosa.
Dozens of business leaders in the community are pledging their support by hiring young people even though the economy is still suffering. Knowing companies want to see them succeed is good news for high school graduates who know the job market is competitive right now.
"There's definitely a lot of competition, especially since people are getting fired with college degrees," said Darche Lang, a youth job seeker. "You're competing with people with college degrees, you know, versus someone fresh out of high school."