Mayor: How summer jobs make a difference

By Mayor Martin J. Walsh

If you asked anyone working today, I’ll bet they can remember their first summer job. It might have been flipping burgers, lifeguarding at the community pool, or helping kids as a camp counselor. Growing up, everyone in my neighborhood had a summer job – it meant independence, and extra money in your pocket.

I remember my first job; I was a doughnut finisher at the Dunkin Donuts in Andrew Square. The work wasn’t glamorous. I started early in the morning, before the store opened, getting doughnuts ready for sale. I got the store ready for the morning rush, unpacked incoming shipments, and decorated the doughnuts for sale. I wouldn’t call myself a baker, but I surprised myself with the skills I learned.

Whenever I go to Dunkin Donuts now, I think back to the time I spent there as a teenager. A lot has changed since I was there in the early 1980s. Technology has transformed the way we find jobs. But I know my first summer job is similar to other young people’s experiences today. Everyone’s career needs to start somewhere, and that’s where I got my start.

With the importance of summer jobs in mind, I encourage all students in Boston to sign up for SuccessLink, an online tool from Boston Centers for Youth & Families that enables Boston youth to register for summer jobs. Through SuccessLink, they can register for the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, get connected to resources, and join civic engagement initiatives designed to empower youth.

In 2017 alone, 3,015 young people were hired through the SuccessLink program. Visit the website at Last weekend, we had over 1,000 young men and women attend a summer youth job and resource fair at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury. It was incredible to see such a strong turnout.

Last summer, Alex— a sophomore at the Josiah Quincy Upper School— applied for SuccessLink and worked at the BCYF’s Youth Engagement & Employment office. He helped other teenagers obtain employment while also using the experience to develop his communication skills. Because of his experience through SuccessLink, Alex has the confidence and expertise to explore other exciting jobs this summer and in the years ahead.
Having job experience makes Boston’s youth excited for their future, and for finding and achieving their dream job someday. This promise of summer jobs is how we support our young residents, helping prepare them – our city’s future workforce – for success. I encourage all Boston teens to visit the SuccessLink portal on and apply for a summer job.

Whether it’s your first job or your fifth, I can promise you it’ll be an unforgettable summer experience. And hopefully, just like my time at Dunkin Donuts so many years ago, you will learn skills and make connections that will shape you for years to come.

Registration is due by March 30.