The Obama administration announced Thursday its plan to create 250,000 teen “employment opportunities” this summer. The program, called “Summer Jobs+”, was kicked off with a commitment so far of 180,000 jobs, according to White House spokesperson Caroline Hughes. The opportunities, targeted at young people, will be in the private-sector as well as federal agencies and non-profit organizations.
“America’s youth can’t wait for Congress to act,” said Obama in a statement today. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. That’s why today, we’re launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America’s youth.”
This past summer marked record highs for teen unemployment, particularly in black Americans. The Labor Department released numbers in September showing that 16- to 19-year-olds ended the summer with unemployment at 25.4 percent. For blacks, it was almost double at 46.5 percent.
Employers including Bank of America, Starbucks Coffee Co. and AT&T Inc. have committed a combined 26,850 jobs to the program. There are additional commitments from Wells Fargo, CVS, Deloitte and Gap Inc., among others.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner was quoted as saying in response to the announcement, “Everyone agrees internships are a helpful tool for youth, particularly in this economy. Yet rather than taking credit for programs that companies already had in place, a more constructive use of the White House’s time would be calling on Democratic leaders to act on the dozens of House-passed jobs bills still sitting idle in Democratic-run Senate.”
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