The Obama administration recently announced its plan to help create 250,000 summer jobs this year for underprivileged youths aged 16-24, in a response to record-high levels of unemployment in that age group.
The program, Summer Jobs+, calls for the government, nonprofit organizations and private sector businesses to collaborate and offer employment opportunities to ‘young people. So far, there have been 180,000 positions committed from organizations around the country.
In July 2011, the employment rate of youths was 48.8 percent, according to a news release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the lowest rate on record since 1948. July typically has the highest rates of youth employment each year, according to the BLS report.
“America’s youth can’t wait for Congress to act,” said President Obama in a statement issued earlier this month, referring to the Senate’s rejection of last year’s effort American Jobs Act.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. 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,” he said.
An analysis done by the White House Council for Community Solutions showed $93 billion in tax revenue went to the support young adults who are unemployed or not in school in 2011. These “opportunity youth,” will create an estimated $1.6 trillion in tax burden over the course of their lifetime.
To help reduce this cost, the program is looking to create 100,000 paying jobs for young people by the start of the summer, and an additional 150,000 career training positions and internships,.
“An internship is now considered an entry-level job,” said Janice Potzmann, assistant director of CSUN’s career center. “It is essential to have experience to be able to find a job. One of the best ways to get that experience is through an internship.”
The career center at CSUN currently has no plans to be involved with Summer Jobs+, Potzmann said.
“We at the career center encourage internships really early on,” she said.
An online tool called Summer Jobs+ Bank is also in development as part of the proposal, which will help participants access postings for available positions through an online search engine. The Obama administration said this tool will launch within 60 days from the announcement made early this month.
There are currently 37 organizations listed as partners on the Summer Jobs+ website. They consist of government bodies including the departments of interior and of agriculture, as well as many private sector businesses, including Bank of America, Viacom and Starbucks.
“Working with the Opportunity Finance Network, we’ve launched the Create Jobs for USA program which provides necessary funding to community and small businesses committed to creating and sustaining jobs,” said Starbucks spokesperson Kristin Oke, in an email.
“It’s expected that the jobs crisis will have a dramatic impact on our low-income and disconnected youth this summer. To help, Starbucks is proud to support more than 25,000 youth this summer through employment opportunities and leadership development,” the Oke later added.
Some Republican leaders have criticized the Summer Jobs+ program.
“Everyone agrees internships are a helpful tool for youth, particularly in this economy,” said spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a recent ABC News article. “Yet rather than taking credit for programs that companies already had in place, a more constructive use of the White House’s time would be calling on Democratic leaders to act on the dozens of House-passed jobs bills still sitting idle in Democratic-run Senate.”
The “Summer Jobs+” program is an extension of the President’s “We Can’t Wait” campaign, a series of executive orders aimed at side-stepping Congressional opposition to his $447 Billion dollar job plan.