Mayor Martin J. Walsh kicked off the eighth year of the John Hancock's MLK Summer Jobs Program, a major component of the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program and the City’s efforts to employ Boston youth. John Hancock’s MLK Summer Jobs Program employs more than 600 Boston teens annually.

"John Hancock's MLK Summer Scholars’ Program understands the critical need for us, as business and community leaders, to take the lead in providing our City youth with meaningful opportunities,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I am thankful for the collaborative efforts of all of our partners to shape the future of Boston in this way."

Mayor Walsh has made youth summer employment a priority, challenging businesses to partner with the City to increase employment opportunities for Boston's youth. In conjunction with the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, John Hancock works in close partnership with The Boston Globe, Boston University and Partners HealthCare to offer the unique MLK Summer Scholars program.

Mayor Walsh addressed hundreds of teens at a kick-off event at John Hancock’s headquarters in South Boston. The event also included a motivational appearance by former Celtics player Dana Barros, who urged the participants to work hard and do their part to support their communities. Following the speaking program, the teens participated in an interactive exercise, engaging one-on-one with Barros, business and civic leaders, and each other.

This summer, the $1 million plus program will employ more than 600 Scholars who will work at more than 70 non-profit agencies in neighborhoods throughout the City. Along with gaining valuable paid work experience, the Scholars also attend a series of life skills workshops. Today’s kick-off served as the first workshop of the summer.

“John Hancock has long believed that it is critically important to our community and our business that young people gain meaningful employment skills at an early age," said Hancock’s Bromley. “We are pleased to continue working with our partners at the City, The Boston Globe, Boston University, and Partners HealthCare to offer this unique personal and professional leadership development program."

“Young people are our future workforce,” said David Torchiana, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “Our relationship with John Hancock and the MLK Scholars Program is exactly what we need to be doing – giving young people great educational and professional opportunities so that they are prepared to be our community’s next workforce.”

“The Boston Globe is a proud supporter of the MLK Summer Scholars program which introduces Boston’s corporate and non-profit community to a new generation of talented young Bostonians,” said Linda Pizzuti Henry, Boston Globe Managing Director. “These students are the city's future and summer jobs provide them an opportunity to learn effective job skills including problem solving, reliability, customer service and high-quality task completion – valuable work experience that will prepare these future leaders."

"There are few better investments we can make in our future than affording young people opportunities to work and learn as they develop skills essential to their academic and professional careers. MLK Summer Scholars performs a remarkable service providing these enriching experiences, and Boston University is proud to continue its support of this terrific program,” said Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer for Boston University.

For more information on MLK Summer Scholars, please visit www.mlksummerscholars.com.

Read the full press release from Mayor Martin J. Walsh's office.