In the midst of the recession, youth workers are having an increasingly difficult time finding jobs or even gaining the experience necessary to be considered. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that current peak youth employment rates are 48.8—more than 10 percent lower than youth employment five years ago and nearly 15 percent lower than the 63.3 percent of youth workers who were working a decade ago.
In response to the youth employment crisis, President Barack Obama established the Summer Jobs+ initiative, saying: “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. It’s important for their future, and for America’s…That’s why today, we’re launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my Administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America’s youth.”
The Department of Labor is asking businesses to get involved in one of three ways:
- Life Skills: Provide soft skills training, such as communication, time management, teamwork, resume or interview workshops. Skills can be provided through study or on-the-job experience.
- Work Skills: Provide job shadow days and/or internships.
- Learn and Earn: Provide paid on-the-job opportunities to gain experience.
To register and add your commitment to the summer jobs program, employers should go to the designated registration page maintained by the Department of Labor. Next, tag your existing opportunities and your jobs will be advertised through the program in the summer jobs bank.
The Department of Labor has prepared a detailed toolkit for employers interested in participating in the program, which gives advice and guidance for creating youth opportunities; an assessment guide; tools to define the scope of the program and strategies to plan, pilot, refine and grow the company’s initiatives over time.
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