Jonathan J. Higuera

Summer youth jobs

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Some may remember their first job, whether it was landscaping for an uncle or flipping burgers at McDonald’s. These days, even those jobs can be hard to come by for America’s youth. Among the battered and bruised left in the wake of a moribund U.S. economy, young people have been hit as hard as any group, especially low-income youth. 

Only 49 percent of jóvenes between the ages of 16 and 24 were employed in July, 2011, down from 63 percent a decade ago, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor. And July is the peak month for youth employment.

Now the Obama administration is asking businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to help alleviate the situation this summer by committing to a “Pathways Pledge.” The pledge asks that employers commit to following three pathways to help low-income youths find jobs and gain important job skills. Specifically, it asks that they:

– Provide young people with soft skills, such as communication, time management and teamwork through coursework and experience. The employer could offer resume writing and interviewing workshops, as well as mentoring programs.

– Provide young people with insight into the world of work to prepare them for employment through job shadow days and internships.

– Hire young people to give them on-the-job skills and a wage for their work.

For employers considering committing to the pledge and youths looking for summer job opportunities, visit dol.gov/summerjobs to learn more about the initiative.


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