Despite the pandemic and struggling local economy, Boston’s summer jobs program for youth will begin on-schedule next month and actually expand to include more offerings, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday.

The jobs program was thought to be in jeopardy because the pandemic has cost some businesses the capacity to pay into the program and host youth workers. But Walsh said starting in July, an infusion from the city of $4.1 million will make the budget whole and allow Boston to offer 8,000 summer jobs, some structured to protect the health of the temporary workers.

"Boston's summer jobs program is one of the best opportunities for our youth to stay engaged in important life-building learning by giving them a chance to build their skills, gain confidence and have formative experiences in the workplace that we hope will make them excited for their future," Walsh said in a statement.

The expanded program will now offer virtual courses “to help students learn various work skills,” and a new outdoors-oriented beautification program with the city’s Parks and Public Works department.

The restructured youth jobs program, with its full budget of $11.9 million, will also allow students to cultivate graphic design and public service experience by working on COVID-19 safety and Census campaigns. They will also be able to take credit-bearing courses through Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Urban College of Boston and Roxbury Community College.

According to city figures, 45 percent of the youth employed through the program are Black. Thirty-five percent are from Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

The announcement came the day that multiple teachers, youth and youth advocates called for diverting funds from the $414 million police personnel and programs budget and reinvesting money into additional youth summer and year-round jobs. Their calls echoed those of other activists around the country who want less money to be spent on policing and more on programs that build up communities.

“I’m asking that you cut the budget from $414 million to $374 million or less and cut overtime from $60 million to $20 million,” said Adeline Ansell, a Boston Public Schools teacher.

Ansell’s was one of several video testimonials submitted by the group Youth Justice and Power Union, a grassroots organization. The group is making a concerted effort to reduce the Boston Police budget in light of recent outcry over police violence against Black people.

“The bottom line is that youth deserve an investment in their future not an investment in policing their communities,” said Tanekwah Hinds, Racial Justice Community Advocate with the Massachusetts ACLU. “Investing in youth jobs rather than investing in criminalization of black and brown youth as well as LGBTQ youth perpetuated by the Boston Police Department ensures that we are diverting them from the juvenile justice system and providing them with community resources.”

Siri Carr, another BPS teacher and member of Youth Justice and Power Union, also called for expanding summer job eligibility to 14-year-olds. Currently, only 15-24 year-olds may apply and work through the program.

Carr said the expansion would empower younger students to begin “supporting their families’ during this difficult financial time.”

Alondra Bobadilla, Boston’s Youth Poet Laureate and Fenway High School student, pointed out that at-risk adolescents are particularly vulnerable now that the pandemic has limited avenues for work and summer leisure.

“I think if we don’t pay attention to them and provide them opportunities that they need, we’re going to lose a lot more youth. Not necessarily to death, but to illicit activity on the streets and I know that that’s not something any of us want to see,” she said.

Walsh said in a statement Monday that he and his cabinet have been mulling over the budget for potential reallocations.

“I've spent the last week talking with my cabinet and employees at City Hall about how we make sure we are not just reacting to the events in Minneapolis, but how do we make sure that we are responding in a way that’s meaningful and brings about systemic change,” the statement said. “I am committed to making real change and making Boston a national leader in building a more just future.”

During an interview with WCVB on Sunday, Walsh said while he thinks there is "an opportunity to reallocate some of that money" into training or other community initiatives, "just arbitrarily cutting the budget is not the answer."

Boston City Councilors Andrea Campbell, Julia Mejia and Council President Kim Janey called for the hearing in late April. The three noted an uptick in shootings following the state’s March stay-at-home advisory.

After the hearing, Campbell said she is open to diverting funding from all sources to finance more opportunities for young people.

“Now we are beginning to see how critically important it is to invest in our youth,” said Campbell, pointing to the city’s Youth Development Fund line item, one of her first financial requests as a city councilor. The fund finances additional non-profit programs and services like All Dorchester Sports & Leadership, Center for Teen Empowerment, Grove Hall’s Project R.I.G.H.T. and Roxbury Youthworks, Inc.

“I’m going to continue to push for the youth development fund to have more resources, and for us to pull money from not just police departments, [but] all departments where it’s not efficiently and effectively spent and redirect that to our young people,” she added.

First-term At-Large Councilor Julia Mejia also indicated she is open to reinvesting police budget funding into youth employment.

“We need to explore all of our options,” she said in an interview with WGBH News after the hearing. “If we’re serious about violence prevention and we know that employment is a strategy for that, then why not pour more money into funding for jobs?”

City officials said during Monday’s hearing that there are currently more jobs than job-seekers. Only about 5,700 youth had filled out applications as of Monday afternoon.