Keeping with the big government mentality, various federal agencies are creating thousands of positions to meet the goals set by a new Obama initiative to find jobs for “low-income and disconnected youth.”
Announced by the president this week, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Summer Jobs 2012 is being promoted as a private-federal partnership in which a quarter of a million unemployed, low-income youths will enter the workforce. Several major companies already operate similar programs though the DOL seems to indicate that they were inspired by this novel plan.
After all, the administration is touting it as a “new call-to-action for businesses, nonprofits and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth.” The goal is to create 250,000 summer jobs for the disenfranchised youth, ages 16 to 24. An internet tool will soon be launched where the job-seekers can access openings and connect with participating employers.
Obama’s Labor Secretary, former California Congresswoman Hilda Solis, hinted that minorities will be heavily targeted, pointing out that “minority youth have had an especially difficult time funding summer employment.” To back this up Solis offered the following statistics; the unemployment rate for African-American youth last summer was 31% and for Latinos it was 20%. That means 900,000 African-American youth and 820,000 Latino youth didn’t work, according to the secretary’s figures.
This is being presented by the administration as a crisis that requires government intervention. So far three federal agencies have committed to create a combined 19,424 jobs for the low-income, disconnected minority youth. The Department of the Interior, which manages the country’s national parks, will lead the way with 12,000 positions in various wildlife refuges, environmental restoration projects and tribal lands.
The Department of Agriculture will offer 7,100 low-income youth—referred to as “our future leaders”—with “valuable work experience” and the Department of Health and Human Services will chip in 324 jobs. Recalling her upbringing in a blue-collar Los Angeles neighborhood, Solis credits these sorts of summer youth jobs for setting her on a course that led her to a president’s cabinet.
Since making it to the prestigious post, Solis has launched a number of controversial programs, including a division with a 1,000 field investigators to protect illegal immigrants in the U.S. workforce. Her agency has also dedicated tens of millions of dollars to questionable initiatives that provide “meaningful job training” for low-income juvenile delinquents and “high-risk” adults, safety training for “low-literacy Latinos” and to promote collective bargaining in Vietnam.
Last month, Judicial Watch uncovered a scandal behind the DOL’s wasteful, bilingual smartphone app to help hourly workers “stand up for their rights” and file complaints against employers. To create the app, the agency awarded a noncompetitive contract— intended for socially and economically disadvantaged businesses—to former DOL official who owns a profitable company called Cascades Technologies Inc.