President Obama plans to unveil a summer-jobs initiative Thursday to help create more employment opportunities for youth in the face of congressional inaction on the president's signature job-creation legislation.
In a statement, the White House says that the federal government is working with the private sector to create nearly 180,000 jobs for low-income youth next summer. The administration seeks to boost that number to 250,000 by June. About 70,000 of the jobs are paid positions.
The president has taken the step, the White House says, because Congress has failed to act. Obama proposed a $1.5 billion employment program to help low-income youth aged 16 to 24 find both summer and year-round employment.
Companies participating in the program include those in the financial and retail sectors as well as shipping giant United Parcel Service. Several government agencies are part of the program, as well.
"America's young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they've got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job," Obama said in the statement. "America's youth can't wait for Congress to act."
The administration plans to introduce within 60 days an online search tool giving youth access to job listings by participating employers.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis told The Hill that the "opportunities" are newly created positions that wouldn't have existed without the program.
"The president has been clear that where there is gridlock with this Congress, he will act," Solis said, noting that the unemployment rate among youth is 16 percent, much above the 10.7 percent level that existed in 2007 prior to the recession.
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