Young people in New York City are increasingly unable to find employment, resulting in long-term negative effects contributing to a range of consequences; including dropping out of school and engaging in acts of violence.
U.S Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand promoted the Urban Jobs Act legislation that would help provide job training, educational programming, and support services, in three separate stops on Tuesday, in Harlem, the Bronx, andQueens.
“Supporting education and training for our city’s youth is a smart investment that will help rebuild our local economy and pay dividends over the long term,” Gillibrand stated in a prepared release. “Helping our youth compete in this difficult economy will have a lasting positive impact on our community,” added Gillibrand.
In Harlem, Congressman Charles Rangel, and Assemblyman Keith Wright, along with representatives from both the National Urban League (NUL) and the New York Urban League (NYUL) spoke about the legislation.
More than one-third of the nation’s minority youth are currently unemployed.
Sen. Gillibrand was joined by Assemblyman Carl Heastie and Bronx clergy leaders at a roundtable discussion in the Bronx to discuss the need for legislation that would assist at riskBronxyouth in finding jobs.
Make the Road New York, a nonprofit that helps the Latino community, was represented by Executive Director Ana Maria Archila, and is an organization that would qualify for a grant under the UJA. Assemblyman Fransisco Moya, Sen. Jose Peralta, and City Council members also attended the event inQueens.
“It is one thing to lose your job, and another to never have had one at all,” said Arva Rice, president and CEO of the NYUL at the press conference inHarlem“For young New Yorkers with few skills, contacts, and options hope can be lost.”
The UJA would provide funding for nonprofit organizations that have job training programs for youth, with an eye on second-chance youth; those who have had a child, an interaction with the criminal justice system, or have dropped out of school.
The Community Service Society of New York December 2010 report about unemployment found that young black males were particularly hard hit, only one in four in the 16–24 age group held a job during the period from January 2009 to June 2010, while unemployment jumped to 52 percent for those without a high school or equivalent diploma.
“The Urban Jobs Act creates opportunities for youth to receive job training, placement, and opportunities that will ensure that they become successful and contributing members of the community,” said Rice.
The legislation would award competitive grants to national nonprofits that would train youth ages 18-24 in partnership with local affiliates.
“If you want to create jobs in Harlem, you've got to plant seeds in Harlem,” said Marc Morial, president of NUL. “The Urban Jobs Act is all about planting seeds, not only in Harlem, but in major urban communities throughout New York, whether it’s Buffalo, or Utica, or Rochester.”
As federal legislation it will have the potential to impact urban communities likePittsburgh, Philadelphia, Portland, and L.A., added Morial.
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