It’s not just Chicago — youth violence is on the upswing in cities across the country, according to the Alternative Schools Network. And it’s not a coincidence that youth unemployment rates are at their highest in 60 years, according to new data.
With both major presidential candidates backing additional economic stimulus efforts, ASN and national allies are calling on them to support a $2 billion plan to create millions of summer and year-round youth jobs.
“Youth turn to gangs when they have no other options,” said Jack Wuest of ASN. “With youth violence rising on a daily basis, we need a federal youth jobs initiative now more than ever.”
Federal funding for youth jobs was eliminated in 2000.In the following eight years, national summer teen employment fell nearly 30 percent, even while empoyment expanded across the economy.
New Bureau of Labor Statistics data confirms the projection of a study by Northwestern’s Center for Labor Market Studies, which ASN released in May (see Newstip ), that youth employment could reach its lowest level in six decades this summer.