JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown announced a leadership initiative aimed at helping teenagers get summer jobs, stay out of the criminal justice system and increase their leadership capabilities within their neighborhoods and to their city. His
His ambitious goals also included a 100 percent graduation rate and doubling the number of people in Jacksonville with college degrees from 25-50 percent, both of which he said are possible.
The mayor unveiled the initiative at the city of Jacksonville's 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Friday morning.
There are three prongs to the initiative, including expanding the current summer teen jobs program. Last year, he said 600 teens were hired because of the public-private partnership between the city and area businesses. He wants many more teens to participate this summer.
"We need to empower young people academically, so they can compete economically, and it gives them options," said Brown.
Brown also wants to keep teenagers out of jail by asking the City Council to allocate more money for diversion programs, like Teen Court and Neighborhood Accountability Boards, which he says offers alternatives to arrest for first-time youth offenders who commit a misdemeanor. A spokeswoman for State Attorney Angela Corey said she is also on board with the program, which adds a second Neighborhood Accountability Board at the beaches to help rehabilitate teens near their communities.
"You get in a fight, something happens, why let them go in a system and get a record?" Brown said.
Brown said 25 high school juniors and 25 seniors will make up a youth leadership advisory council, which will learn about city government and even advise the mayor himself.
Families or businesses interested in participating can get more information online
, or by emailing the Mayor's Summer Jobs program
, or by calling 904-630-CITY