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City of Richmond East District Center

701 North 25th Street

Richmond, VA

23223 USA

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Youth Engagement Services Home of the Mayor's Youth Academy

Youth Engagement Services

Youth Engagement Services, formally known as the Mayor's Youth Academy, is the youth serving unit of the Office of Community Wealth Building. This unit is comprised of dedicated, authentic, and innovative professionals committed to the development of the future workforce. With a growth mindset, we strive to eliminate barriers that may lead to poverty. We believe in fostering flexibility and being resourceful in our approach. Youth Engagement Services provides a safe space for youth 14-24 to explore diverse career paths, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to grow and thrive.


2024 Summer Work-Based Learning applications are NOW CLOSED

Thank you for taking the time to apply and showing interest in our program. Please be on the lookout, via email, regarding our next steps in our application process. The next announcements will be going out April 22nd – April 26th.

Summer Work-Based Learning Program

The Youth Engagement Services Summer Work-Based Learning Program presents City of Richmond youth an opportunity to engage with their community and participate in “real” work experience

The Summer Work-Based Learning program consist of:

  • Career coaching

  • Developing Richmond’s future workforce

  • Exploration and training in a variety of career fields

  • Financial compensation

  • Youth receive "real" work experience

  • Gaining skills that are necessary for future employment

  • Mentoring and networking opportunities

Youth Work Schedules

  • Youth will begin the program with orientation and pre-employment training

  • Youth will be compensated bi-weekly

  • Youth will be available to work up 25 hours weekly


The Youth Engagement Services Summer Work-Based Learning applications are currently open. The application will be open throughout the entire month of March. You can access the application here

Number of Members: This year, we plan to provide 450 city of Richmond youth with the opportunity to participate in our Summer Work-based Learning programs.

Youth Eligibility: Students who would like to join the Mayor’s Youth Academy Summer Work-Based Learning Program must align with our three criteria

  • Youth must have a City of Richmond home address

  • If youth are grades 8-12, youth must currently be enrolled in a City of Richmond School

  • Youth must align with the programs age requirement on June 21st 


Youth Program Age-Ranges

  • Counselors in Training (Parks & Recreations)

  • 14-15 years old to apply

  • Teens in Richmond in Parks (Parks & Recreations)

  • 14-15 years old to apply

  • Virtual Earn & Learn

  • 14-15 years old to apply

  • Youth must be fresh to the virtual earn and learn program, no previous virtual earn and learn participants

  • Work-Based placements (in-person)

  • 16-24 years old to apply

  • Founders Mark – Entrepreneurship

  • 16-24 years old to apply


Advantages from Participating

  • Develop positive work habits and attitudes

  • Strengthen six key soft skill areas - communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

  • Assessing abilities and strength

  • Fostering self and career exploration

  • Establishing a clear connection between education and work

  • Becoming better informed to make decisions before accepting a job offer.

  • Recognizing the shared responsibilities for a successful work experience.

  • Leadership development and genuinely engage people in their communities.

It is the vision of the Youth Engagement Services to develop Richmond's future workforce with hopes of supporting access to quality employment and related supports that help decrease poverty in the city of Richmond.

The Youth Engagement Services team (Y.E.S.), formally known as the Mayor’s Youth Academy (MYA), was launched by former Mayor Dwight C. Jones, in 2010, designed to develop Richmond’s Future Leaders and workforce. (Y.E.S.) is a workforce development program designed to engage youth in a productive career exploration program by using a work-based learning approach. Youth who participate in (Y.E.S.) cultivate positive relationships while strengthening academic, soft, and technical skills: job readiness training, leadership development, exposure to entrepreneurship, mentoring, and post-secondary career exploration. Our goal is to develop Richmond's future workforce into determined, successful citizens who will one day become our city's leaders.

Youth Engagement Services is designed to develop Richmond's future leaders and workforce. Youth Engagement Services serves Richmond youth (ages 14-24). A few advantages, to participating in (Y.E.S.), can be listed as: 

  • Personalized career exploration

  • Expert Guidance from a Team of Well-Qualified Professionals

  • Supportive Community

  • Connections to mentors

  • Access to Support Services

    Youth Council Program Overview

    The Youth Engagement Services Youth Council Program presents City of Richmond youth an opportunity to engage with their community and participate in local policies and initiatives. Within this program, youth cultivate and develop an influential platform for youth involvement and make your voice heard in civic matters.

    The Youth Council Program:

    • Provides a forum for youth related issues

    • Engages youth around the county to participate in local government

    • Prepare future leaders through training, community engagement, and civic engagement

    • Provide youth an opportunity to make recommendations to city leadership


    • Meetings will begin at 5:15 p.m.

    • Meetings take place bi-weekly, October through March

    • Held In-person


    Youth Council Applications are currently closed. 

    The Mayor’s Youth Academy Youth Council Program applications are reviewed in September and appointments are made in October. 

    • Number of Members: This year, we plan to provide 40 city of Richmond youth with the opportunity to participate in youth council. We aspire to assist youth in their development skills with building networks, community organizing, youth advocacy, and acting as youth representatives to Richmond Leaders.
    • Youth Eligibility: Students who join the Mayor’s Youth Academy Youth Council must align with our three criteria

    1. Youth must be between 14 and 19 years of age

    2. Youth must have a City of Richmond home address

    3. Youth must currently be enrolled in a City of Richmond high school

    MYA Forward

    Mayor's Youth Academy MYA Forward aims to support older youth, between the ages of 18 and 24, residing in the City of Richmond who are not in school or employed. This program combines job training, skills development, and preparation for work to help youth re-enter the workforce successfully. Areas of occupational training include the following: healthcare, skilled trades, public safety, manufacturing, human services, and IT/administrative technology.

    MYA Forward aims to address the following:

    1. Offer programming to help equip Richmond's workforce and provide fresh talent to employers

    2. Help fill employment gaps within the City of Richmond by preparing older youth for more than just entry-level or part-time work while striving to help local businesses thrive

    3. Offer career pathways to success designed with goal to help older youth develop skills needed to achieve career advancement and economic mobility


    • Now Accepting Applications for 2023-2024! MYA Forward Application
    • Older Youth who join MYA Forward must be:

    • City of Richmond resident 

    • Between 18-24 years old

    • Out of School and/or unemployed 

    Career Coaching

    The Youth Engagement Specialist Career Coaching program is dedicated to nurturing and refining the sot and technical skills of youth within the City of Richmond. We are committed to guiding youth towards a successful career path, ensuring they are well equipped for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

    Career Coaching Includes:

    • Soft Skills Workshops

    • Financial Awareness Workshops

    • Workplace Excellence

    • Career Navigation


    To begin with this service, please complete our intake form linked below. Once we have received your information, one of our engagement specialists will reach out to you to schedule your first session. Meetings are expected to take place on a bi-weekly basis.


    To join our 1 on 1 career coaching, please complete this form:

    Employer Partnerships

    Each summer, the Youth Engagement Services brings together local government agencies, private sector employers, community-based organizations, and small businesses to provide City of Richmond youth, between the ages of 16 -24, with an array of summer work experiences. Through our seven-week Y.E.S. Summer Work–Based Learning program, we strive to:

    • Expose youth to a variety of career paths

    • Develop employability skills

    • Provide professional mentors and instructors 

    • Provide safe and constructive summer opportunities for youth

    Employers throughout the City of Richmond make this annual program possible by volunteering to serve as partner employers and providing structured job placements for youth participants. By partnering with the Youth Engagement Services you will be part of the development of a new emerging workforce and the leaders of tomorrow. There are many ways to participate, including:

    • Providing structured Work-Based Learning internship opportunities for city of Richmond youth

    • Providing financial sponsorships for various program components (ie transportation, uniforms, etc.)

    • Mentorship and/or training opportunities

    • Collaboration or Networking 

    Partner Enrollment

    New partners are required to submit a Partner Interest Form and attend a partner vetting meeting BEFORE completing the Partner Registration Form.

    For returning partners, with the Mayor's Youth Academy, complete the MYA Partner Registration form.