credit: WMAR - ABC2
After significant cuts in the Baltimore youth summer employment program, dozens of youth staged an old-fashioned sit-in to demand jobs on Tuesday.
1,300 of the 6,700 students that applied to participate in the YouthWorks program will not be working this summer because of lack of funding. However, the state is breaking ground on a $100 million youth prison which activists made a last ditch attempt to stop mid-June. “Why can’t they give youth a job or something to do so that they’re not breaking laws or getting locked up?” said Jacquelle Jolly, 11th grader, to CBS News.
The dozens of students blocked the entrance to the city Office of Economic Development preventing employees from going to work.
- credit: WMAR – ABC2
For its part the city says they are contributing the same $1.6 million they did last year, but the federal government is not coming through with the additional funding.
Karen Sitnick with the City Employment Development office said “They were hoping that this bill would pass and we would have the funding from the federal government to help us close the gap and it didn’t happen.”
The Senate meanwhile plans to leave town without passing a jobs bill because of Republican opposition. Maybe we can raise some money for these teens to take the train ride down to Washington and protest there?
America is in a jobs crisis. According to an April report, The Jobs Deficit, by the middle-of-the-road New America Foundation, we are short 12.3 million jobs (thats the difference between people looking for work and available jobs):
Here is a look at what has stalled in Congress that would address this deficit gap, while bickering over the size of government distracts:
- The American Power Act, which President Obama failed to demand the Senate pass last night, would create an average of 203,000 to 440,000 more jobs per year through 2020. This is the time for green jobs legislation, but if the President stalls to happily “look at other ideas and approaches from either party” (as he did with healthcare legislation), we will be lacking the necessary leadership to get a bill passed.
- The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010, as watered down as it is, will inject $1 billion over ten-years into summer youth employment programs, creating 300,000 jobs for the youngest workers.
- The Education Jobs Fund, introduced by Senator Harkin, would save more than 300,000 school jobs (teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cafeteria workers) by injecting $23 billion into local boards of education over two years.
- 6-month extension of Federal Medicaid matching funds. This money is critical to maintaining basic government services and public sector jobs. Cutting jobs and unemployment benefits is not the way to restore fiscal discipline, let alone grow the economy. The Senate has re-included this as part of the Jobs Bill (HR 4213) that they are voting on today, but it is expected to fail in favor of some unclear compromise.
We need to get America back to work in a way where everyone prospers, not just the few at the top. Congress must act now.
I realize I dropped the ball on providing a summary of the great ideas out of the Joint Economic Committee’s hearing on Avoiding a Lost Generation: How to Minimize the Impact of the Great Recession on Young Workers. Young workers are facing record high unemployment and make up a disproportionate share of the unemployed.
With statistics like these, we need every good idea we can get. Arranged by originator:
Dr. Till von Watcher, Columbia University
- Combine the delivery of unemployment benefits with better job steering and training programs.
- Help young workers help themselves by giving them the information they need regarding projected future job growth and regionalization of industries – much of this information is already compiled by government agencies, but difficult to access and use.
- Provide young workers vouchers for training, so its more affordable and possible.
- Bring employers back into the discussion.
- Increase the mandatory schooling age past 16, which was set for factory work. Increasing the age will help them enter the workforce later with more skills.
- Encourage partnerships between pools of small businesses and community colleges to provide training programs.
Dr. Harry Holzer, Georgetown University
- Better connecting workforce development programs with education system.
- Expand summer youth employment programs beyond summer months.
- Increase the quality and quantity of training and certificate degree programs.
- Better targeted efforts to employ those that are the most disadvantaged, including expanding public service employment opportunities for these young workers.
- Tax credits for training and hiring young workers, to make it more affordable.
- Encouraging students to go to training or certificate programs rather than college does not need to be seen as a bad thing, if those workforce development programs provide a clear pathway to success.
- Good paying jobs for those with skills, but less formal education, still exist – but our education system does not push students to them.
- We need to do something about the fact that once you are incarcerated and released, you are essentially unemployable.
David Jones, Community Service Society of NY
- Tax credits for small businesses for hiring young workers.
- Federal transportation dollars should be used to hire young workers.
- Better enforcement of statutes that encourage hiring of young workers, like housing authority regulations.
- Subsidies for young workers to afford community colleges and technical training schools.
- Summer employment programs must offer real jobs to prepare young workers for entering the labor market and must connect to potential jobs later on.
Stephen Wing, CVS Caremark
- Go into elementary and secondary schools to begin educating students about different jobs, so they can orient for the proper pathway to that job early.
- Partnerships between foundations, government, the community, and businesses is crucial.
- Young people will stick with the training programs if they feel they are learning real skills that will increase their opportunities.
and then some not-so-great ideas:
James Sherk, Heritage Foundation
- End the minimum wage.
- Strip out all labor market protections because they limit job growth.
The New York Times Editorial Board today called on Senate Republicans to stop blocking funding for summer youth jobs programs for teens:
Bills like these are often portrayed as pork barrel spending. But summer jobs help young people in desolate communities find meaning in their lives while improving their long-term work possibilities. The Senate needs to act soon. States and localities need time to set up effective jobs programs before school lets out.
Studies have shown that summer jobs gives teens valuable skills, reduces crime, and accomplishes significant benefits for the community like life-guarding or fixing potholes. Unfortunately, funding for these critical programs has been cut drastically in many states, counties, and cities during the current round of budget formations. (YoungWorkerMovement is beginning a study to see how deep these cuts have been and how many programs will be effected.) Last year’s stimulus act saved many of these programs, but the economic picture for towns and cities has only gotten bleaker since. Without additional federal funds, this will accelerate the current distancing of the American Dream from America’s youth.