White House Launches Summer Jobs+ Initiative for Youth
Jimmy Fallon used to scrape gum beneath grocery store floor mats. Now, he has his own primetime TV show, Late Night on NBC..
Cecilia Munoz once worked at the drive-through at her local McDonald’s. Today, she’s director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
Omar Epps was a pizza delivery boy at a Brooklyn pizzeria in his youth and now his work on the hit TV show House has earned him two NAACP Image Awards.
It’s hard to imagine that these powerful figures ever worked a back breaking job before they became the successes they are today but that’s the point the Obama administration wants to make: From hard work and a fair chance anything is possible.
In a series of videos circulated by the White House, celebrities and administration members recount the hardships of their first summer jobs, while highlighting the hard learned life lessons, like how to be patient, handle money, earn trust, feel responsible and independent—that only a first job can provide.
The videos are an effort to promote a new initiative launched by the White House called Summer Jobs+; an additional resource to help young people secure summer employment through partnerships with businesses, non-profits, and government agencies and an online jobs bank.
Last summer, 48.8 percent of youth, between the ages of 16-24, were employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest number of the series, which began in 1948. That number was even lower for women and minority students, who are typically at a greater disadvantage when looking for summer jobs. President Obama hopes that this program will not only provide job opportunities to American youth, but will also help to restore confidence in this slow-to-recover economy.
"America's young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they've got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job,”said President Obama on the Summer Jobs+ official site.“ It's important for their future, and for America's.”
The idea for the initiative and accompanying website surfaced after Congress failed to pass the American Jobs Act, killing a youth summer employment program in the process. The official website launched in early May aims to provide low-income and disconnected youth with opportunities in the business, non-profit, and government sectors. This month, the program surpassed its initial goal of creating 250,000 jobs; there are now over 300,000 listings on the website—90,000 of which are paid jobs.
On the Summer Jobs+ Bank feature online, students can filter searches by location and keywords. Once a student clicks on a position that they’re interested in, they will then be taken to a third-party aggregate site such as internships.com, or internmatch.com which will provide further details of the position, the qualifications, and what’s required of an applicant. Job postings can also be found using various other digital platforms like Facebook, iPhone, and Android apps.
These apps integrate Summer Jobs+ into their respective platforms to allow students to search for jobs using methods they’re most comfortable with. For example, the Facebook app allows friends to recommend jobs to each other; the iPhone app uses Google Maps to let students see the location of the job, and has a text message alert system when new jobs are posted.
Employers who partake in the initiative are asked to make a “Pathways Pledge” by choosing one of three options to aid low-income youth. These pathways include: ‘Life Skills’ like mentoring, resume-building, and other soft-skills; ‘Work Skills’, that would prepare students for the real-world through shadowing and internships; and ‘Learn and Earn’, traditional, paid employment. The portal offers a wide breadth of opportunities, with employers ranging from larger institutions like Wal-Mart and Xerox, to more intimate start-up types.
As an extension of Summer Jobs+ Bank, the White House has also launched Summer Jobs+ Cities. Thus far, three cities have joined the call for action: Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. Each city has set their own opportunity target number, often partnering with local organizations and schools to provide training, match students to employers, and meet their goal.
More features are expected to be added as the summer heats up but for now use and share this clean and easy-to-use widget to find a summer job near you:
Amisha Sisodiya is an online communications intern with Campus Progress.