Local pols join jobless youth talk

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Ald. Will Burns (4th) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) will join state and local legislative, educational, civic and community leaders for a hearing on youth joblessness. A diverse group of youth will testify on their experiences and the opportunities that employment and education provide. Additionally, education and youth advocacy organizations will testify about programs and policies that could help reduce violence in Chicago-area communities.

The hearing will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Chicago Urban League, 4510 S. Michigan Ave.
Since the start of the recession, youth joblessness has continued to hit record highs each year with teen employment rates in Illinois dropping to just 27.8 percent in 2011-2012. At the same time, advocates say, the persistent economic challenges in America, coupled with increased violence in Chicago area communities and low projections for teen summer employment in 2013, make it imperative that effective program responses to address joblessness for youth and young adults in the Chicago area be developed in time to impact summer employment needs for 2013.

A new report outlining new data on unemployment will be released at the hearing as part of an ongoing series commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network and prepared by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, Boston, Mass.