The Obama administration is setting up partnerships with U.S. businesses, including Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp., AT&T Inc. and LinkedIn Corp., to provide summer jobs for young people from low-income households.
Businesses and the government are pledging to provide almost 180,000 paid jobs, internships and other “employment opportunities” through training and mentoring programs by this summer, according to the administration. The goal of the initiative being announced by President Barack Obama today is to raise that to 250,000, with 100,000 of those paid positions.
“There’s no replacement for the dignity that comes with earning your first paycheck,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said on a conference call with reporters yesterday. “Summer jobs are good for our economy. They’re good for our youth, and they’re good for our country.”
The partnership plan was put together after Congress rejected Obama’s $447 billion proposal to spur job creation, including spending $1.5 billion for summer jobs for low-income Americans between 16 and 24 years old, according to a White House release.
The plan is part of a broader effort by Obama in an election year to take executive actions to boost the economy while portraying Congress as obstructing his initiatives.
“The president has been clear that, where there is gridlock with this Congress, he will act,” Solis said.
This summer Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America will provide 1,500 paid internships at the company and local nonprofits along with job placement programs as part of a three-year $50 million goal to help underserved communities, according to the White House statement. Dallas-based AT&T, the largest U.S. telephone company, has pledged to provide some 350 summer jobs, including internships in finance, retail and engineering; New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. will help 1,300 teens learn skills to find full-time jobs as part of a larger mentorship program; San Francisco-based Wells Fargo will support 1,000 employment opportunities, and Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn will offer 200 internships this summer.
Starbucks Corp., McGraw-Hill Cos. and Viacom Inc. are also taking part by expanding paid internship programs and offering more jobs to youth this summer, the statement says.
According to the Labor Department, 48.8 percent of people between 16 and 24 had jobs last July; Five years ago that number was 59.2 percent. Numbers are lowest for African Americans -- 34.6 percent between 16 and 24 had a job in July -- and Hispanics -- 42.9 percent held jobs that same month.
Good Use of Time
Not everyone thinks this is a worthwhile use of time and resources.
“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 the Democratic-run Senate,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican.
The White House also announced a plan to introduce within 60 days an online tool for young people to find job postings. Google, Internships.com, AfterCollege, LinkedIn and Facebook will help support the site.