FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2010
WITH UNEMPLOYED YOUNG ADULTS AT AN ALL TIME HIGH: SCHUMER PUSHES YOUTH SUMMER JOBS BILL - WILL HELP KIDS AND YOUNG ADULTS FIND WORK DURING CRUSHING ECONOMIC CLIMATE, STIMULATE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND EASE STRESS FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES ACROSS NEW YORK
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is working to pass a new youth jobs bill that will begin to address the incredible rate of unemployment among youth in New York and across the country. The current youth unemployment rate of 21.5% is a threat to our nation’s broader economic recovery as an entire generation of young women and men see their talents wasted. Schumer announced that the proposed legislation, The Youth Jobs Act of 2010, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), has the capacity to create 500,000 transitional jobs for America’s young people – a demographic that remains plagued by the economic recession. Schumer will make the case that transitional employment opportunities coupled with hands-on training is an effective way to bring America’s youth into the workforce, and critical in helping middle-class families that, more than ever before, are financially supporting their grown children. The program will be dedicated to placing youth in jobs and training opportunities that provide valuable work experience, stimulate local economies, and boost the income of middle-class families.
“More than any time in recent memory, summer jobs for teenagers and young adults are going to be tough to come by this summer,” said Schumer. “That’s why we need to start taking critical steps to immediately address the problem - investing in summer jobs programs will not only ensure that kids and young adults have the proper training to join the work force, but will relieve stress on middle class families and is a proven way to jumpstart a local economy.”
The Schumer-backed legislation has its roots in the 1998 Workforce Investment Act. The Workforce Investment Act brings together public resources and private industry to create Workforce Investment Boards that act as local hubs for employment. The Workforce Investment Boards each create programs specifically tailored for the region’s needs to promote employment for people of all ages. Schumer said that the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 focuses on the unemployed who are 24 years old and younger by creating specific programs to invest in summer and year-round employment for youth.
Schumer said that such programs have been proven overwhelmingly successful. A similar program included in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act used $1.2B in recovery act funding to create 300,000 jobs for unemployed youth. This proposed effort will again target youth between 14 and 24, millions of whom enter the workforce each year in the late spring and early summer as they graduate or as schools close for summer recess.
Currently, Workforce Investment Boards are giving young adults a chance for meaningful employment all across New York. For example, the Niagara County Workforce Investment Board offers computer and customer service training to young adults so that they can meet entry level standards for employers in Western New York. In Central New York, the Onondaga County Workforce Investment Board keeps a centralized job bank and works with local employers to provide custom training so that young adults can hit the ground running at a new business. And in the Hudson Valley, the Orange County Workforce Investment Board provides an array of services to young adults that includes: job specific training skills, basic education courses and classes on how to rise to managerial positions in the business world.
Schumer said the proposed legislation would send approximately $76 million to the Workforce Investment Boards in New York. An analysis from the New York State Department of Labor suggests the funding would break down as follows:
o Under the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 the Capital Region would receive $3,637,585.00
o Under the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 Western New York would receive $6,614,302.50
o Under the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 the Rochester/Finger Lakes Region would receive $4,763,781.25
o Under the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 the Southern Tier would receive $2,661,102.50
o Under the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 Central New York would receive $4,538,222.50
o Under the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 l Hudson Valley would receive $5,391,208.75
o Under the Youth Jobs Act of 2010 the North Country would receive $2,724,255.00
Schumer said the version of the program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act supported almost 30,000 youth jobs last year. Here is how the job count breaks down by region:
o In the Capital Region, about 1,500 people found work because of the Summer Jobs Program
o In Western New York, about 1,800 people found work because of the Summer Jobs Program
o In the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, about 1,000 people found work because of the Summer Jobs Program
o In the Southern Tier, about 500 people found work because of the Summer Jobs Program
o In Central New York, about 1,700 people found work because of the Summer Jobs Program
o In the Hudson Valley, about 1,400 people found work because of the Summer Jobs Program
o In the North Country, about 800 people found work because of the Summer Jobs Program
Youth unemployment – often buried underneath population-wide estimates – has skyrocketed during the recent economic recession. The “disconnection rate” of 20 to 24 year olds who are neither enrolled in school nor employed rose from 17 percent in 2007 to 28 percent last year. Among teenagers, the unemployment rate exceeds what it was for all workers during the Great Depression. The percentage of employed teens, 26 percent in late 2009, is the lowest it has been in more than six decades. Bringing these young adults into the work place will be great for their future but also great for our current economy. A recent study by Northwestern University has shown that a dollar earned by a young adult translates into three dollars in economic activity. That translates into a $225,000,000 boost for New York’s economy from this bill.
“Putting young people back to work is a proven way to help the economy, and is a goal we should be aggressively pursuing,” Schumer added.