Growing up in my family, summer jobs were a requirement! One of my best memories is the summer I worked as a bookkeeper in a local accountant’s office. I felt such pride in going to work every day and earning my own paycheck. More importantly, though, the skills I learned from Mr. Henderson – time management, critical thinking, and effective communication – have served me well throughout my career. The impact that experience had on me professionally is one of the many reasons I made summer jobs a priority when I worked in the private sector. At Verizon Washington, we designed an award-winning program that provided employment opportunities to hundreds of students across the District of Columbia. In fact, this past weekend, I was able to speak to a group of young men and women from one of the schools we worked with - Anacostia High School. These students are participating in a wonderful mentoring program and will be interning with various organizations throughout the city this summer.
When you hear these young people’s stories, it is clear how important it is to support youth employment and entrepreneurship. And young people are in need of our help now more than ever. During tough economic times, teenagers, college students, and recent graduates are often some of the hardest hit when it comes to finding meaningful employment. President Obama understands this reality, and it is why we at the SBA and across the Obama Administration are working to give young people opportunities to get support through internships, part-time work, and training.
The centerpiece of our effort is the Summer Jobs+ Initiative that the President launched in January. Working with other federal agencies and private sector companies, it is our goal to provide 250,000 young people with opportunities to learn and build skills, whether it’s through training courses, part-time employment or full-time jobs. We are looking for employers who are willing to give a young person the chance to develop vital professional skills while helping you grow your business.
In my role as Deputy Administrator of the SBA, I am focused on helping young people succeed by providing them with the tools they need to start their own small businesses. Recently, SBA announced the Start Young Initiative, a pilot program we developed with the Department of Labor to train the next generation of entrepreneurs. In addition to in-person courses, SBA has various online training resources like our latest course, the Young Entrepreneurs Essential Guide to Starting Your Own Business which supports young people interested in business ownership.
All of these efforts are meant to help create good, long lasting jobs and skills for young Americans. If you are interested in getting involved, the Summer Jobs+ website will enable you to post positions in an online job bank and explore ways to help young people develop valuable skills while under your employment. I strongly encourage you to visit www.dol.gov/summerjobs and learn more about this exciting program. It’s a great opportunity to support young people and I hope you’ll take advantage of it.