Washington (DC) Today, Congressman Al Green (TX-09) announced his support for the Congressional Black Caucus’ call for passage of a summer jobs program for youth, similar to the one funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) last year.
In a press conference organized by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), CBC members emphasized that teen unemployment is worse for African-Americans than all racial groups. According to data from the Department of Labor, African-American teens are unemployed at a rate of 39.3 percent, compared to 30.1 percent for Latino teens and 23.3 percent for white teens.
“The communities of which we speak already have serious economic concerns that are not being addressed such that when you add the unemployment problem to the equation, you have a real emergency. Jobs impact not only a person, but employers and communities as well,” said Congressman Al Green, who added that programs like these provide valuable work experiences for youths, while stimulating the economy and reducing crime.
Regarding the timing of the passage of the summer jobs program legislation, Congressman Al Green urges that “It should be approved as soon as possible because many of the youths who participate in the program should be hired in the months of May and June.”
Congressman Al Green indicated that last year’s program was beneficial because it paired teens from low-income families who were looking for work experience with private companies, non-profits and governmental agencies that required some additional staffing.
“It was a good collaboration. These youths had their first real experience in the job market and learned about possible careers. At the same time, their employers got some extra help for the projects they had planned to accomplish during the summer season.”
Last year’s program served youths from 14 to 24 years of age who worked in sectors such as health care, education, parks and recreation, public service, as well as child care. On average, they earned $7.75/hour and they worked 25-30 hours per week for a period of seven weeks.