NELP Applauds President Obama’s Summer Opportunity Project


Statement of Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:

“The National Employment Law Project commends President Obama on his newly announced Summer Opportunity Project. More than five million young Americans today are neither working nor attending school; they risk a lifetime of lower earnings, economic instability, and missed chances for a brighter future.

“Landing that first job is more than a paycheck for a summer—it’s the first step toward a lifetime of productive employment and self-sufficiency. We applaud the president for bringing together private businesses, community advocates, and policymakers to help those young Americans achieve that first critical connection to the paid workforce.

“Without the family connections that others have, youth in the foster care system may be especially challenged in finding their first job; those with a history in the juvenile justice system face additional hurdles. We endorse the combination of on-the-job applied learning in summer positions and apprenticeships and educational opportunities, ranging from classroom experience to internships that will help youth make the personal connections and develop the skills that will make them valuable employees in years to come.

“Further, NELP applauds the president’s proposal to increase funding for proven programs like AmeriCorps and to develop innovative new programs to address the need for jobs for young people. President Obama has committed $6 billion in new funding in his 2017 budget to help one million young men and women join the workforce. As more and more baby boomers retire, this wise investment will help ensure that our nation and its workforce remain vibrant and that everyone has the opportunity for meaningful work.”


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