Thursday, May 13, 2010

Year Up Atlanta and Walmart Team Up for the National 'Walk For Opportunity'

/PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to close the Opportunity Divide and promote a solution for the skilled talent shortage threatening US companies, Year Up Atlanta today kicks-off its annual "Walk for Opportunity." At this event, Year Up students, instructors, staff, community and partner companies -- including a Walmart representative -- are walking throughout Atlanta.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation projects a shortfall of 14 million knowledge workers necessary to fuel the US economy over the next 10 years. In response, the Walk is bolstering visibility for Year Up's mission to close the Opportunity Divide -- a gulf borne from lack of access to quality education, resources, and support that prevents 4.4 million low income young adults from making the most of their potential. By providing these young adults with skills and experience, not only are they empowered to reach their potential through professional careers and post-secondary credential attainment, but they in turn provide US companies with the talent necessary to remain competitive.

"Walmart's participation in Year Up's Walk for Opportunity demonstrates our commitment to connecting Atlanta's young adults to education and job training needed for future success," said Glen Wilkins, Senior Manager of Public Affairs at Walmart. "These resources are necessary not only to strengthen communities, but also provide these individuals with valuable career opportunities."

The Walk for Opportunity is being held in six US cities, including Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Providence, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Additional information specific to the Walk in Atlanta can be found at: http://www.yearup.org/walkforopportunity/atlanta.html.

"Year Up's Walk for Opportunity represents a united understanding that not only is Corporate America facing a growing shortage of US skilled labor, but that the solution lies in the unrealized talent of 4.4 million low-income young adults," said Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up. "By providing these individuals with access to resources and education, we can help them achieve their dream of establishing a family sustaining career and successfully pursuing post secondary credentials, while we supply our partner companies with this untapped pipeline of local talent."

In 2010, Year Up received a $721,500 contribution from the Walmart Foundation to help grow its site in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as launch its new office in Chicago in 2010. The grant makes it possible for Year Up not only to expand its proven model to reach more candidates in both regions, but also to change workplace hiring practices and influence how government at all levels support workforce development programs.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Immigration vs. Teen Employment; Study Finds Immigrant Competition Contributes to Decline in Work

/PRNewswire/ -- The summer of 2010 is shaping up to be worst summer ever for the employment of U.S.-born teenagers (16 to 19 years old). But even before the current recession, the share of U.S.-born teens in the labor force - working or looking for work - was declining. A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies finds that competition with immigrants (legal and illegal) explains a significant share of this decline. The fall in teen employment is worrisome because a large body of research shows that those who do not hold jobs as teenagers often fail to develop the work habits necessary to function in the labor market, creating significant negative consequences for them later in life.

The report, "A Drought of Summer Jobs: Immigration and the Long-Term Decline in Employment Among U.S.-Born Teenagers," can be found at http://www.cis.org/teen-unemployment

Among the findings:

-- The summer of 2009 was the worst summer ever experienced by U.S.-born
teenagers (16-19) since citizenship data was first collected in 1994.
Just 45 percent were in the labor force, which means they worked or
were looking for work. Only one-third actually held a job.

-- Between the summers of 1994 and 2000, a period of significant economic
expansion, the labor force participation of U.S.-born teens actually
declined from 64 percent to 61 percent. By the summer of 2007, before
the current recession, it was down to 48 percent.

-- The number of U.S.-born teenagers not in the labor force increased
from 4.7 million in 1994 to 8.1 million in 2007. In the summer of 2009
it stood at 8.8 million.

-- The severity of the decline is similar for U.S.-born black, Hispanic,
and white teens. The fall-off is also similar for teenagers from both
high- and low-income households.

-- Immigrants and teenagers often do the same kind of work. In the summer
of 2007, in the 10 occupations employing the most U.S.-born teenagers,
one in five workers was an immigrant.

-- Comparisons across states in 2007 show that in the 10 states where
immigrants are the largest share of workers, just 45 percent of
U.S.-born teens were in the summer labor force, compared to 58 percent
in the 10 states where immigrants are the smallest share of workers.

-- Looking at change over time shows that a 10 percentage-point increase
in the immigrant share of a state's work force from 1994 to 2007
reduced the labor force participation rate of U.S.-born teenagers by
7.9 percentage points.

-- Among the states with high immigration and low teen labor force
participation are Nevada, New Jersey, Georgia, Arizona, Texas, North
Carolina, California, and New York.

-- The most likely reason immigrants displace U.S.-born teenagers is that
the vast majority of immigrants are fully developed adults -
relatively few people migrate before age 20. This gives immigrants a
significant advantage over U.S.-born teenagers, who typically have
much less work experience.

-- Summer is the focus of this report; however, the decline in the
employment of U.S.-born teenagers is year-round, including a decline
during the other peak period of seasonal employment at Christmas.

-- Although there is good evidence that immigration is reducing teenage
labor market participation, other factors have likely also contributed
to this problem.

-- One factor that does not explain the decline is an increase in unpaid
internships among U.S.-born teenagers. High-income and college-bound
teens are the most likely to be in internships, yet teenage high
school dropouts and those from the lowest income families show the
same decline. Moreover, there are only about 100,000 internships (paid
and unpaid) in the country. The increase in U.S.-born teenagers not in
the labor force was 3.4 million between 1994 and 2007.


Discussion: The primary reason to be concerned about the decline in teenage employment is that research shows consistently that it is as a young person that workers develop the skills and habits necessary to function in the labor market. Poor work habits and weak labor force attachment developed as a teenager can follow a person throughout life. As a result, those who do not work as teenagers earn less and work less often later in life than those who were employed in their teenage years, especially those who do not go on to college.

Businesses have repeatedly argued that there are not enough seasonal workers. If seasonal workers were truly in short supply, the share of teenagers in the labor force would have increased significantly, not fallen dramatically. There is good evidence that immigration accounts for a significant share of the decline in teenage summer labor force participation. In many of the occupations where teenage employment declined the most, immigrants made significant job gains. Comparisons across states in 2007 show a strong relationship between the growth in the immigrant population and the decline in teenage employment. The finding that immigration is reducing labor force participation of teenagers parallels the conclusion of newly published working paper from the Washington, D.C., Federal Reserve, "The Impact of Low-Skilled Immigration on the Youth Labor Market."

The decision to allow in large numbers of legal immigrants (temporary and permanent) and to tolerate large-scale illegal immigration and to turn away from employing U.S.-born teenagers may be seen as desirable by some businesses. However, this policy choice may have significant long-term consequences for American workers as they enter adulthood. The potential impact of continued large-scale immigration on teenagers is something that should be considered when formulating immigration policy in the future.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.

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