Nearly six million young Americans are out of school and out of work. The implications of youth disconnection from the economy are tremendous – lower spending into our economy, higher government and social spending, and diminished hope for young people that they can provide for themselves and their families, and even achieve the American Dream.
To help address this critical economic issue, at this week’s Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting in Denver, Colorado, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Job One – a far-reaching set of CGI Commitments to Action to create new economic opportunities for youth in the United States.
Job One builds on Secretary Clinton’s longstanding work on youth employment. From serving on two national commissions focused on youth job pathways in the 1980s and 1990s to her work in the Clinton Administration to update national workforce development policies for a 21st century economy, for decades Secretary Clinton has been a forceful advocate for more private-public partnerships so that young people can have access to real world jobs skills training and work experience.
Job One seeks to close a critical gap in our country's education and economic systems through business-designed and implemented training, hiring and mentoring pathways for youth. Through Job One, businesses commit to achieving two critical goals for youth employment:
• First, all of the commitment makers, whether they are from the private sector or from the nonprofit community, have made new, specific and measureable commitments to expand training, hiring or mentoring opportunities for those youth that have been hardest hit by the recession.
• Second, all of the commitment makers have also agreed to educate and reach out to other companies about the business case for training, hiring and mentoring opportunity youth, the nearly 6 million young people across the country who are out-of-school and out-of-work.
This latter component is particularly important because as Secretary Clinton said in her remarks, “expanding youth employment opportunities in the United States can’t just be an effort of 10, 100, or even 1,000 businesses – we need a movement of businesses, nonprofits, government, labor, and young people across the country to work together for our economy’s future success.” You can see Secretary Clinton’s full remarks below.
Each participating business in Job One has customized their own commitment to reflect their specific workforce challenges and business needs. For example, some businesses like EY are scaling up internal mentoring programs to reach underserved youth that are at high risk of becoming disconnected, while others like MDC Partners and Microsoft are building on proven partnerships with Year Up, a leading nonprofit that trains young people with in-demand job skills.
You can learn more about all the CGI commitments. The shared recognition across the participating businesses is that opportunity youth are a source of talent and energy for our economy that we can’t afford to ignore. We encourage more CGI members – including businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations – to join this effort through the new CGI Action Network on U.S. Youth Employment.
Let’s get to work!