The White House has announced the launch of Summer Jobs+, a new employment initiative that calls for businesses, non-profits, and the government to work together to provide "pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012".
As part of the American Jobs Act, the proposal calls for high-impact summer jobs and year-round employment for low-income youth ages 16-24. It looks to the federal and private sectors to commit to creating nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, coming when Congress "has failed to act".
The initiative targets young people who need help in finding employment. It is set out to provide youth jobs for the summer of 2012 in the form of paid internships and/or permanent positions that provide on-the-job training, with young people gaining soft skills such as communication, time management and teamwork through coursework and/or experience.
President Obama said:
"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 I proposed a summer jobs program for youth in the American Jobs Act – a plan that Congress failed to pass. America's youth can't wait for Congress to 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."
Patty Stonesifer, Chair of the White House Council for Community Solutions (WHCCS) said:
"While young people who are currently disconnected from school or work are not contributing to our economy, we see these young people as âOpportunity Youth' – because of the untapped potential they bring to the Nation.
"Today, the White House challenged all sectors to go all-in and work together in creating pathways to youth employment. Summer jobs are an important step – and to stay on the path to success, Opportunity Youth need social supports and access to relevant education, mentoring and training. This spring, the White House Council for Community Solutions will participate in community discussions nationwide to learn from best efforts by youth, families, government, business, educators, and nonprofits to connect young people to meaningful career opportunities."
It's an expensive issue. Analysis from the WHCCS shows that in 2011 alone, the taxpayer lost more than $93 billion in direct costs and lost tax revenue to support young adults disconnected from school and work.
Organizations involved in the initiative include The American Association of People with Disabilities, UPS, We Are Golf, Wells Fargo, Jamba Juice, the Bank of America, State Street, Viacom, Deloitte, The Corporation for National and Community Service, Syracuse University and JP Morgan.