At the direction of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, the Board of Supervisors today voted to restore $20.7 million in funding for the Youth@Work program and allocated $5 million in long-term funding to ensure up to 10,000 young adults can continue getting work experiences that lead to entry-level jobs.
“As former U.S. Secretary of Labor in 2008, the Great Recession was a time to recommit to our youth and ensure they had the work skills and experience they needed to successfully transition into adulthood and careers,” said Supervisor Solis. “This investment – in youth and in our future – must be further committed during this current economic downturn. Strengthening our jobs safety net is necessary for a full economic recovery. Through LA County’s Youth@Work jobs program, young adults will get the work experiences they need to succeed in life and recover from the economic consequences of COVID-19. Earlier this year, the budget shortfall that LA County faced threatened the future of this program, but instead the County has met my challenge to not only fully fund the program this year, but has identified long-term funding for years to come.”
According to the Urban Institute, 57.4 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 have said their families lost jobs, work hours, or income due to the pandemic. In comparison, only 35.4 percent of people between the ages of 54 and 64 suffered job losses, fewer work hours, or decreased income.
Young adults are three times more likely than adults over the age of 25 to be unemployed because they face structural barriers that keep them from entering the workforce, said Lauri Collier, director of the LA Opportunity Youth Collaborative for the Alliance for Children’s Rights.
“The harsh impacts of the COVID-19-related economic crisis fall disproportionately on young workers,” said Collier. “By fully funding the Youth@Work, the Board of Supervisors has shown its commitment to the 10,000 young adults served across Los Angeles County, 850 of whom are foster youth.”
In July, Supervisor Solis authored a motion directing relevant County departments to identify up to $20.7 million in the supplemental budget to continue current levels of funding for Youth@Work.
“This investment in youth employment programs fuels much-needed programming for youth in historically-marginalized communities of color, and has the potential to change the trajectory of a young person’s life, as they launch into adulthood,” Collier added.
This year, the Youth at Work jobs program will include a virtual component for those who cannot physically show up at a worksite. Youth@Work prioritizes youth who dropped out of school, are struggling to stay in school, and those who may have graduated, but do not have a job and are not enrolled in any classes.
A recent review of more than 200 studies found that job training provides positive long-term effects on employment, especially during a recession, which is why Supervisor Solis recognizes the importance of investing in job training programs.
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