What else is new, right?

NPR covers the continued rise of unemployment for 16-19 year olds, especially among African-American teens.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the while the country gained 162,000 jobs in March, the overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent. And it’s much tougher for teenagers; The jobless rate for those between ages 16 and 19 rose to 26.1 percent. For African-American teens, it’s even worse: That rate stands at 41.1 percent.

“They are competing with people who have experience, and they simply don’t have it,” says Deborah Shore, founder of Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a group that provides housing and workforce training to homeless kids in Washington, D.C. “It’s the worst unemployment for teens ever.”

The longer they go without work experience, the harder it will be for them to find jobs in the future, she says.

Unfortunately, the teen job market is one of the last indicators of a healthy economy, with many white youth finding jobs before the African-American demographic. Because of racial discrimination, a lack of resources, and fewer connections, African-American youth are one of the most disadvantaged groups of job seekers.

One way to assist these young people is by passing legislation with comprehensive youth programs and public works projects included.

There is at least one proposal before the House that would devote $8 billion to year-round youth training and employment. Other proposals in the Senate have been blocked, although congressional staffers supportive of such measures believe Congress may still pass funding for youth programs through an amendment to other, broader jobs bills.

However, as the article points out, summer vacation is quickly approaching. Will our representatives act in enough time?

It’s important to remember that while changing the way college students finance their education is important, there are less privileged youth out there who want to get to work but are devoid of opportunities. What are we doing to help them?

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