President Obama is focused on accelerating economic recovery and boosting job creation for all Americans, particularly key segments that need better access to long-term employment. Last year, the White House Council for Community Solutions called attention to Opportunity Youth, the 6.7 million Americans between 16-24 years old and disconnected from school and work. The Council spent more than 18 months conducting research, hosting roundtables, and developing a robust set of recommendations on how to harness their extraordinary potential.
The cross-sector ideas shared by the Council catalyzed numerous new initiatives in the public and private sector. Within government, the President issued the Youth Jobs+ challenge back in April to engage local elected officials along with business and community leaders to work together to connect young people with summer and year-round job opportunities.
There are many ways to support Youth Jobs+. To support efforts to boost job creation this summer, the President directed senior Administration officials to participate in local “Youth Jobs+ Roundtables” in urban centers and rural communities, meeting with local elected officials and community partners to generate commitments for addressing employment and jobs training for underserved local youth. To date, 15 roundtables have taken place all over the country, and 15 more will take place through August in cities and jurisdictions across the country.
We also see considerable traction outside of government. Last year, the Aspen Institute was inspired by the Council to create the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions that recently announced 21 grants to support innovative approaches in cities, towns and tribal communities round the country. The Forum also is rolling out a national learning agenda to share best practices gained from these communities.
But we want to do more. This fall, the White House will host a special event, the 2013 Youth Jobs+ Champions of Change, to honor heroes across the country that are helping Opportunity Youth develop the discipline and skill associated with employment. It will also showcase some of the remarkable young people who have participated in these programs.
If you want to recognize an outstanding young person from this community who has gained work or to celebrate someone who is having an impact on preparing your community’s underserved youth to join the workforce, let us know! You can submit your suggestions here but do so quickly as our deadline is Friday, July 26.