WASHINGTON -- D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off the 40th year of the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program Wednesday by announcing its new partnership with the Office of the Comptroller.

The program will offer rising high school seniors and D.C. residents aged 22 to 24 the opportunity to explore career paths within the federal arena and financial service industries. Interns will earn $20 per hour. 

The Office of the Comptroller has also decided to donate an additional $3.5 million in funding to the MBSYEP.

"For 40 years, our city’s Summer Youth Employment Program has provided young people in Washington, DC opportunities and experiences that allow them to develop critical work skills, meet mentors, and stay safe and productive throughout the summer months," Bowser said. "This year, we are thankful to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for working with us to bring this new partnership to life and investing in our youth – the future of our community."

The program started in 1979 by Mayor Marion Barry as a locally-funded initiative for high school seniors, partnering with hundreds of private and public D.C. employers. 

In 2015, however, Bowser expanded the MBSYEP to include D.C residents aged 22 to 24, many of which came from Wards 7 and 8 where unemployment rates are the highest. 

Interns earned more than $1.8 million through the program in 2017, and just last year, more than 11,000 residents participated.

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More recently, the MBSYEP offered over $300,000 in post-secondary scholarships through the newly created Mayor's Opportunity Scholarship. The program has also provided participants with new technology to practice job interviews, connect with employers and complete professional development sessions.

The MBSYEP is one of the largest summer jobs programs in the country and stands as a national model for summer work programs. 

The 29-day work program will start Monday and end August 2.

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