NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) — Investing in summer jobs for young people was the topic of conversation at a roundtable Tuesday morning in Newport News.

Congressman Bobby Scott hosted the discussion which focused on the city’s Summer Training and Enrichment Program, STEP. He said investing in young people makes a difference, and the federal government must do its part.

Scott was in Newport News to discuss how the community can support young people through a summer jobs program like STEP.

The goal of STEP is to introduce young people into the working environment.

The program offers paid work experience, field trips, workshops, and many more resources.

More than 400 students participated in STEP this year.

Congressman Scott said research shows summer jobs reduces crime. He highlighted a 2017 study in Chicago, where it showed summer programs reduced violent crime arrests among at-risk youth by 42%.

Youth Gang and Violence Prevention Manager for Newport News MaRhonda Echols said they're searching for more private partners to expose young people to other opportunities.

She said if they had more outreach they could address more young people.

Congressman Scott introduced the Opening Doors for Youth Act in 2017. This legislation would authorize $1.5 billion dollars for summer jobs over four years.

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