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Report: Young African-Americans Face An Unemployment Crisis That Links Directly to Lack of Summer Jobs

Unemployment rates plague Black communityThe current unemployment crisis among young African-Americans can be traced back to government policies that were instituted when this generation was in elementary school, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase that details the impact of the federal government in 2000 ending its investment in the Summer Youth Employment and Training Program.

Since 2000, as summer youth employment jobs dried up, more and more young people entered adulthood with no work experience and little chance of securing permanent employment. This has put millions of young people across the country in a state of limbo, without a job and no longer in school, adrift.

This has only exacerbated the skills gap that employers complain about—the mismatch between employer needs and worker skills. When the federal government ended the Summer Youth Employment and Training Program, it led to an approximately 40 percent decline in summer youth employment, a problem that’s particularly acute among low-income and young people color. 

In 2013, according to the JPMorgan report, low-income teenagers were 20 percentage points less likely to be employed than high-income teenagers. In addition, white male youths from high-income families were five times more likely to be employed than Black male youths from low-income families.

“Young people are facing an employment crisis,” Chauncy Lennon, JPMorgan Chase’s head of workforce initiatives, said in a statement. “Too many young people cannot find summer jobs and, as a result, they’re missing out on a critical opportunity to be personally and professionally successful in the future.”

So why hasn’t the private sector stepped in to make up for the jobs lost when the federal government bowed out? JP Morgan Chase suggests that companies do exactly that, incorporating job training and skills development, particularly those in demand by employers.

St. Louis has made strides with its youth employment program, STL Youth Jobs, which targets at-risk teen students and young adults and matches them with jobs at small businesses or civic and government organizations near their neighborhoods. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said the $2,200 cost for each young adult in the summer program comes from a combination of state and local funds, as well as private donations.

“One thing we know is an issue is when you have young people who are out of school for long periods of time when there’s no adult supervision … they’re kind of on their own,” Slay says. “We know what a job does for a child is not only puts money in their pocket, but also builds self-esteem. It helps teach them basic life skills and self-discipline. It keeps them off the street and hopefully out of trouble and really provides a way of setting an example for other young people.”

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7 thoughts on “Report: Young African-Americans Face An Unemployment Crisis That Links Directly to Lack of Summer Jobs

  1. Gc Williams says:

    STOP PUT ALL AFRICAN – AMERICANS IN THE SAME CATEGORY EITHER YOUNG, MIDDLE AGE OR MATURE! Not all African -Americans live in Middle , Working and Poor Class African -American Communities and are not working. Some African – Americans young , middle aged and mature run internet businesses , companies , agencies, have professions, carreer and much more. All ages of African – Americans outside the Middle , Working and Poor Class African -American Communities. Lots of Affluent African -Americans have put together programs for struggling African -Americans for years( early 1900's). Google " Affluent African -Americans " and see the new power…… top 10 Richest Black Communities in America

  2. Anthony Forté says:

    There are affluent negroes, but programs? Doubtful. Pls name one.

  3. Nat Tee says:

    If some of the people this article IS talking about lives in public housing, it means no jobs for kids. IF a child works, that child's paycheck goes toward the rent. That is the policy for certain conditions living on public assistance.PLUS now you have to be 16 to work, not 14 as we did back in the 70's. Having to get permits for a school age child to work is stupid. So let kids work during the summer and save their money for school clothes.

  4. This situation is merely indicative of the lack of jobs OVERALL in the country; not only for young people but for ALL AMERICANS in general. What ever happened to Job Corps? What ever happened to the Civil Service Parks and Recreation jobs? And, whatever happened to apprenticeship jobs? Young people used to go to BOCES which is a training program for TRADE SCHOOL JOBS on Long Island during the school year so that when they graduated they were assured of having a job waiting for them. What happened to those programs? Not everyone is made for college but who is making sure that these young people are even PREPARED to go to college? What difference does it make if they go to college or not, if when they graduate there are no jobs available?

  5. In my opinion there should be more youth programs for young black African Americans. It is hard to find jobs for teens believe me I am one.

  6. In my opinion there should be more youth programs for young black African Americans. It is hard to find jobs for teens believe me I am one.

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