A new report issued by the Annie E Casey Foundation finds that employment for teens is at the lowest level in 57 years. Nationally, 6.5 million young people ages 16 to 24 are both out of school and out of work - statistics with dire economic and social consequences. The news is no better here at home. Oregon has the 11th highest percentage of unemployed teens in the country, with only 28% working. For African-American males, the rate is even lower at 12%. There are more than 36,000 young people in the Portland Metro region who are not in school or working, and 1,500 more are likely to drop out of high school this year.
Putting young people to work is more than a paycheck. There is no better place to learn the skills necessary to be successful at work than work itself. Youth who work are more likely to return to school, have a job in subsequent years, and earn more money over the course of their lives. They are also less likely to engage in crime and other high-risk behaviors.
Check out this video of SummerWorks youth working on the Build a Boat program.
How the program works:
It's simple! A sponsorship of $2,000 covers all the wages and other employment costs for a 180-hour work experience for a youth. Worksystems funds work readiness training for all youth participants and pays all the costs associated with screening and matching youth to job sites, job coaching throughout the work experience, and employer-of-record services. Youth show up ready to do real work.
Results of the program since its inception in 2009:
- 91% of youth completed their work experience and received a positive evaluation from their supervisor.
- 93% of participating employers would recommend the program to colleagues.
- 93% of youth returned to high school, post-secondary school, or became employed.
- 97% of youth were low-income; 76% were youth of color.
- An analysis of the program found that $1.20 returned to our local economy for every $1.00 spent on youth wages.
To sponsor a youth or for more information on this program, contact Reese Lord.