In its 2017 budget proposal to be unveiled on Tuesday, the Obama Administration is expected to call for spending almost $6 billion to help young people find their first jobs, especially those who are not in school and not employed.
The unemployment rate for those between 16-19 years old stands at 16 percent. While that’s down from 19 percent a year ago, it is still much higher than the nation’s overall unemployment rate, which ticked down to 4.9 percent in January.
President Obama is poised to offer a plan aimed at getting the youth unemployment rate down further, by offering employer incentives, such as subsidizing part of young workers’ wages through joint partnerships with private, public and philanthropic funding sources, and providing money for on-the-job training programs and apprenticeships.
Thaddeus Ferber of the Forum for Youth Investment, an organization that works to put together similar partnerships to help young people find work, said the president’s proposal would help make it easier for private employers to take chances with younger, less educated and less employed applicants.
“They’re having trouble getting to the first interview,” Ferber said of such applicants. “It’s not easy finding a champion inside of a company who’s willing to buck the trend … There’s a lot of stigma and also a lot of playing it safe.”
There were similar employment programs in the mid to late 1970s, during the Carter administration, when almost $10 billion was spent on employment programs, resulting in approximately 400,000 additional jobs in the public service sector, according to the Department of Labor. Some of those jobs were in training and youth programs that helped those between the ages of 16 and 21, including the Jobs Corps.
“A lot of the research on these strategies was conducted back then, and showed that they were effective,” Carl Van Horn, said, who heads the Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.