Message From Patty Stonesifer, Chair, White House Council for Community Solutions
President Obama created the White House Council for Community Solutions in December 2010 and directed the Council to help identify and raise awareness of effective community-led solutions to our Nation’s most serious problems. The Council chose to address an area of critical importance to America’s future: putting every young person on a clear pathway to economic opportunity.
Today, 6.7 million 16 to 24 year olds – roughly 1 in 6 in this age group – are disconnected from both school and jobs. Research shows that connecting young people to the labor market early is critical for shaping their skills, attitude, and outlook on life. But today, millions of young people in America can’t find a job. If we don’t act, young people will feel the effects of this recession long after the daily media coverage ends and the unemployment rate falls.
Long term, we will all feel the economic burden of youth unemployment. In 2011, taxpayers shouldered more than $93 billion to compensate for lost taxes and direct costs to support the country’s disconnected youth, and that amount will grow to more than $1.6 trillion over their lifetime.
If companies can offer young people paid jobs, great. But if they can't, they should consider other ways to introduce young people to the business world and the knowledge, skills and attitude that are required to be successful in the workplace. This could take on many forms, from short-term career or job-shadowing days to long-term internships or mentoring programs.
That’s where this toolkit comes in. It was created to serve as a roadmap and guide employers on options for engaging with youth who are seeking mentoring, training, or employment.
Whether you’re just getting started, or already have a program that serves youth and want to expand it or deepen your impact, we hope these tools will prove useful to you.
Patty Stonesifer, Chair
White House Council for Community Solutions