By Victor Ochieng
The White House and the U.S. Department of Labor announced $21 million in grants targeting Summer Jobs and Beyond as part of measures the administration is putting in place to provide opportunities and on-work experience to young Americans. The announced grants are earmarked for 11 communities charged with linking disadvantaged young people with job opportunities during this summer and, of course, year round.
Besides the summer jobs, the White House has also announced 16 Summer Impact Hubs. These communities will receive enormous, systematic support from 16 federal agencies to help beneficiaries in shaping and refining their summer jobs, learning, including exposure to local entrepreneurship and creative opportunities, violence reduction and meals.
In February, President Barack Obama made an emphatic call to state and local leaders as well as community organizations, businesses and schools to be proactive in connecting young Americans to their first jobs and summer learning opportunities, meals, and violence reduction initiatives. Towards that goal, the government launched the Summer Opportunity Project to increase the number of young Americans partaking in evidence-based summer programs, reduce youth involvement in violence during summer and, most importantly, help these young Americans connect to their first jobs.
This is in line with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force recommendation, which is geared towards raising youth employment and establishing cross sector campaign for combating summer learning loss and increase job and internship opportunities for the American youth.
“Access to a job in the summer and beyond can make all the difference to a young person—especially those who don’t have access to many resources and opportunities,” President Obama said in a statement.
The White House staff says the two latest announcements are focused on providing support to state, local leaders, community organizations, philanthropists, schools, youth serving agencies and other relevant players in their efforts in ensuring that youths experience productive and fulfilling summers that build their educational and career prospects.
When a young people land their first job, it provides them with more than just the lofty paycheck. It gives them a lifelong experience and networking opportunities that help them beyond that particular job. Besides on-work learning, availing summer opportunities for youths helps them to focus on more important things thus cutting down the chances of them getting involved in criminal activities. At the same time, it keeps them on a constant growth both in knowledge and skills.