A new federal initiative aims to provide paying jobs to up to 100,000 low-income young people this summer, a combined effort of the federal government and private companies, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
In the U.S., last summer was a record low for youth employment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said, with a little less than half of people age 16 to 24 employed. Among minority youth, only 34.6 percent of African-Americans and 42.9 percent of Hispanics had jobs in the summer of 2011. (Around the globe, the high number of unemployed young people has been a factor in the Arab Spring uprisings and calls for political change across Europe.)
A new White House analysis shows that, in 2011, taxpayers spent more than $93 billion to support young adults disconnected from school and work.
With “Summer Jobs+", the latest in the Obama administration’s “We Can’t Wait” series of actions intended to exercise federal authority in the absence of Congressional action, President Obama said the federal government and private sector have committed to creating nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth this summer and hope to add another 70,000 jobs by the start of the summer. He said at least 100,000 of those slots will be paid jobs or internships. (In recent years, more young people looking for work experience have turned to unpaid internships, but that strategy has raised questions.)
A new job-search website, Summer Jobs+ Bank, will launch within the next two months. Companies and organizations that have already pledged to hire young adults this summer include large corporations such as AT&T, Bank of America, and Starbucks, as well as nonprofits including Easter Seals, WE ARE GOLF, and Operation HOPE.