By Neil Bomberg
This past April, President Obama challenged businesses, non-profits, and governments to work together to provide employment this summer to low-income and disconnected youth. The goal is to bring together elected officials, local businesses, non-profit organizations and faith institutions to create pathways to employment for young Americans, especially those who come from low-income families and lack the formal ties to their communities that most youth enjoy.
Among the national partners are the National League of Cities (NLC), the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and organizations representing businesses and non-profits. For the President, this effort is not just about increasing youth employment opportunities but also decreasing juvenile violence, which has become an increasing problem in places where low-income and disconnected youth live.
If your city or town is involved in a jobs program the Administration wants you to know that they are providing online resources and technical assistance, and supporting local events across the country to highlight the value and importance of providing pathways to employment for youth.
In addition to paid employment opportunities, President Obama is also urging cities and towns to provide low-income and disconnected youth with:
• Work-related professional development opportunities, including workshops and assistance in navigating post-secondary educational experiences; work-ready skills training through job shadow days;
• Academic tutoring especially in numeracy, mathematical literacy, and English language literacy;
• Unpaid internships, though paid work is preferred;
• Job readiness training so that young people know what is expected of them in the workplace; and
• Wrap-around services, such as mentoring and financial literacy training.
The White House has provided a range of resources that you may find valuable as you embark on your summer jobs efforts. They include:
• A website that provides a full list of participating job posting websites to find jobs, internships and other employment opportunities in your area, something young people will find helpful;
• An employer toolkit that will help guide employers, step by step, on how to work with low-income and disconnected youth; and
• A financial literacy toolkit that is a resource guide for K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, employers, and community leaders.