‘Thousand Strong’ Program Aims to Pair High Schoolers with Local Businesses

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SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced the launch of "Thousand Strong" Thursday, a youth employment program with the goal of creating a connection between area high schools and the city's growing economy.

"We spend hundreds of millions of dollars in this state and in this country on workforce training for young adults who have either dropped out or had a tough time," Steinberg said. "I'd rather switch that paradigm to invest more of these resources in young people so they don't face failure."

The goal is to sign up 1,000 students. So far, 400 students have applied. Students from 29 high schools in the Elk Grove, Natomas Twin Rivers and Sacramento districts are invited to apply. Already, 250 local businesses have signed up to provide minimum wage internships.

One of those businesses is the Arden Fair Mall.

"With all the retailers we have at the shopping center, we probably have 1,200 positions and even more at Christmas time, so this is a great opportunity for us to have another pool to pull from and provide opportunities to a younger generation," Arden Fair spokesperson Tod Strain said.

The program is paid for with city, state and school district money.