President Obama’s Summer Jobs+ program, which is lining up commitments from the private sector and from government to create summer jobs and internships for young people, has announced commitments for 90,000 paying jobs, up from the 70,000 previously announced in January, with many more unpaid internships and mentorships (which absolutely must be strictly overseen so that kids aren’t just used as free labor without gaining skills or prospects; unpaid work of any kind is a poor enough substitute for paid work without being directly exploitative).
This effort is sorely needed: Last summer, the youth labor force participation rate hit its lowest rate in July, typically the month of the year when the most young people are working, since the government started tracking it. President Obama’s American Jobs Act included funding for summer jobs, to help young people earn money and get valuable work experience, but of course Republicans in Congress blocked the jobs bill. As a result, Obama has been forced to do what he can without Congress.
In addition to the new commitments from dozens of companies and non-profits, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco are emphasizing the Summer Jobs+ program, with San Francisco holding a Youth Resource Fair on May 9. For teens and young adults beyond those three cities, the Department of Labor is launching an online Summer Jobs+ Bank.