Pres. Obama Announces 180K Summer Jobs for Youth
Effort would help get teenagers back to work.
The Obama administration on Thursday announced job commitments from dozens of well-known companies and business leaders, who intend to hire 180,000 young people this summer.
The initiative, dubbed “Summer Jobs+,” targets low-income and opportunity-deprived youths ages 16 to 24, and will feature an online jobs bank. Young job seekers can begin searching the database in two months.
“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released Thursday morning.
The administration says it hopes to increase the commitment to 250,000 jobs by the start of summer; at least 100,000 of those are slated for placements in paid opportunities and internships. The list of employers includes AT&T, Bank of America, Gap, Inc., Jamba Juice, LinkedIn, Starbucks, and UPS. For a full list of the employers, click here.
The announcement continues President Obama’s push for action on the economy that doesn’t require handling by a dysfunctional and increasingly unpopular Congress.
Black community and business leaders joined the president for a midday event at the White House, where they stressed the need for hiring disadvantaged youths and the need for Congress to pass elements of the American Jobs Act. The jobs bill includes incentives that bolster the new hiring commitments from the private sector.
“This jobs program is a fatherhood program, it's a marriage program, it's a program that makes sure young people make that jump from high school to college,” said NAACP president Ben Jealous on a conference call after the White House event.
Jealous and National Urban League president Mark Morial said the president’s initiative has their utmost support.
“This is a call for (corporations) to do a little bit more when it comes to putting young people to work,” Morial said. “We know that older teens and young people provide (financial) support for their families. It’s important for them.”
Jamba Juice’s (African American) CEO James White said his company sees the commitment as a mutually beneficial venture. The company made a similar effort last summer.
“This program is a pipeline (for new talent) in our company,” White said. “That’s been an accelerator for our business…there are no financial remunerations for making the commitment. This is about getting young people back to work.”
Jobs for minority youth were especially tough to come by last summer. Only 35 percent of African American youth and 42.9 percent of Hispanic youth had summer jobs last July, according to statistics kept by Department of Labor. Overall, new data shows a 15 percent drop in youth summer employment over 10 years.
This is the second hiring commitment announced by the Obama Administration in just a few months. In November, companies committed to hiring 100,000 veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. An online jobs bank lists thousands of opportunities specifically for veterans.
To track the youth jobs initiative’s progress, the administration has asked the Department of Labor to keep record of the new hires reported by each company, said Danielle Gray, the White Hose Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.
“We are modeling the youth jobs bank after the veterans jobs bank,” said Gray, who added that the bank helps the administration to track which companies are keeping their word.