Worksystems Launches 1,000 Jobs for Youth Campaign

February 26th, 2013

A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that employment for teens is at the lowest level in 57 years. Nationwide, 6.5 million young people ages 16 to 24 are both out of school and out of work - statistics with dire economic and social consequences.

The news is no better here at home. Oregon has the 11th highest percentage of unemployed teens in the country, with only 28% working. For young African-American males, the rate is even lower at 12%. There are more than 36,000 young people in the Portland metropolitan region who are not in school or working, and 1,500 more are likely to drop out of area high schools this year.

At the same time, regional employers are increasingly concerned about finding qualified workers. Over the next 10 years, there are projected to be 50,000 replacement openings in critical local industries.

In response, Worksystems has issued a call to action to create 1,000 jobs for youth this summer through our SummerWorks program. Putting young people to work is more than a paycheck. Research and experience tell us that there is no better place to learn the skills necessary to be successful at work than work itself. Youth who work are more likely to return to school, have a job in subsequent years, and earn more money over the course of their lives. They are also less likely to engage in crime or other high-risk behaviors.

SummerWorks featured on KGW News!

A sub-committee of Worksystems' Board of Directors, led by Board Chair James Paulson and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, has stepped forward to help get the word out and achieve the goal of creating 1,000 jobs for kids this summer.

"This is a growing crisis that has tremendous economic and social consequences for our community," said Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith. "We have a responsibility to do something about it."