SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KCBS)— Up to 500 paid internships and jobs will be available this summer to at-risk and low-income youth in Santa Clara County, county officials said.

The board of supervisors voted unanimously to establish the pilot project last week. The county and the non-profit Work2Future will coordinate with employers in the public, private and non-profit sectors to provide the jobs for youth and young adults 16 to 21 years old.

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Officials are directing the assistance at foster youth, CalWorks families and low-income and disconnected youth.

The program aims to reduce crime among young people and improve their career prospects.

Officials said that summer youth jobs programs have been reducing crime among target populations in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco since earlier this decade.

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“Employment is one of the main services and most important services and most important services and opportunities that we can give to our youth to get them out of the streets and to provide stability and structure for them,” said Briana Saldovar, who works with foster youth.

Despite the surging local economy, the youth unemployment rate in the county is over 20 percent.

County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said issues surrounding transportation will have to be addressed. One issue that some of the young people have raised with her is how some of the youth get two jobs over the summer and need to get back in forth between jobs and then back home.

Meanwhile, the city of San Jose is supposed to match the 500 jobs created by the county.

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