A reminder of warmer times to come. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Today might be the coldest day the District has seen in two years, but Mayor Vincent C. Gray wants city youth and their parents to put their minds on warmer days to come: Applications to the annual Summer Youth Employment Program open Friday, and the Gray administration is warning kids to sign up quickly.

This year’s summer jobs program — like the two previous years under Gray (D) — will accommodate a large but limited cohort of youth between ages 14 and 21 for six weeks of employment.

It’s unclear just how many participants the city is expecting to accommodate this year; I’ve asked and will update if I get a precise figure. Last year, the program enrolled about 14,000 youth with various government and private sector opportunities. (A few hundred were enrolled in a paid, in-school “summer bridge” program.)

D.C. employment services director Lisa M. Mallory said the program, which starts July 1, will offer participants “positive and useful work experiences that will remain with them for a lifetime.”

Applications will be available online starting 12:15 p.m. Friday. Youth and parents can also apply in person at the Department of Employment Services building, 4058 Minnesota Ave. NE, from 12:15 p.m. till midnight. All applications must be submitted by Feb. 16 and “will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis,” according to a news release.

At one of more than two dozen “certification events” later this year, parents or youth who sign up will have to provide proof of age, D.C. residence and work eligibility before actually being placed in a job.

Also, the city isn’t only making appeals to kids and parents. Officials are reaching out to employers, as well, to accommodate more program participants. Gray, in a statement, said he is “challenging private and public-sector employers … to participate in the program by providing meaningful internships for young District residents.”