For many young African-Americans who are looking for jobs, the Obama administration says it’s committed to offering hope this summer in the form of a paycheck.
“In January, we called on the private and public sectors to help us address record unemployment among America’s youth,” President Barack Obama said in a statement Wednesday. “Today, we are proud to announce that cities, federal agencies, non-profits, and companies from across the country have come together to provide hundreds of thousands of summer jobs and employment opportunities for our young people.”
Last summer, the unemployment rate among youth ages 16-24 — many of them black — set a near record high, and only 21 out of 100 low-income teens had a job. Starting in June, the administration hopes to reverse that trend by creating 300,000 employment opportunities for low-income young adults, which includes 90,000 paid jobs and thousands of internships.
The administration says it has secured additional commitments from 95 companies and non-profits, three cities, two federal agencies and the White House to provide new summer jobs for disadvantaged youth. In addition, the administration will also launch a new online search tool to help connect young people to jobs, internships and other employment opportunities this summer and year-round.
“There’s no replacement for the dignity that comes with earning your first paycheck, and whether young people are looking for a job at the retail store around the corner-or at a national park states away-they now have one place to start their search,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
Obama’s jobs plan should be embraced by some of the president’s critics — like talk show host Tavis Smiley and Princeton University professor Cornel West — who have chastised Obama for not doing enough to create jobs in urban areas, and devastated black communities in particular.
The administration’s summer jobs announcement also comes as the Economic Policy Institute released a report this week that shows women and African-Americans are hit hardest by job losses in government.
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