Teens hit Hub streets for job fund­ing.

Youth Jobs Coali­tion demon­stra­tors are ask­ing law­mak­ers for a boost in youth em­ploy­ment sup­port.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - SPENCER BUELL @ MetroBOS spencer.buell@metro.us

Sev­eral hun­dred teenagers from around Mas­sachusetts marched through Bos­ton on Thurs­day morn­ing, call­ing on the state for more fund­ing for youth em­ploy­ment.

The con­spic­u­ously young crowd — mainly stu­dents on Fe­bru­ary break from school — stopped traf­fic as they marched their way through the Fi­nan­cial District, be­fore head­ing to the State House to lobby leg­is­la­tors.

The Youth Jobs Coali­tion is seek­ing an in­crease in fund­ing for YouthWorks, a state pro­gram that pays to place Mas­sachusetts low-in­come teenagers in po­si­tions at non­prof­its and govern­ment of­fices.

They are ask­ing leg­is­la­tors for $13 mil­lion for the pro­gram in next year’s bud­get, which they said would fund nearly 5,200 jobs. Fund­ing in the lat­est state bud­get was $11.5 mil­lion.

State fund­ing helps young peo­ple sup­ple­ment their in­come at a time when find­ing a job is par­tic­u­larly hard for teens. While un­em­ploy­ment in the state has fallen to pre-re­ces­sion lev­els, youth un­em­ploy­ment re­mains high, with as many as one in three teenagers work­ing at least part-time.

“Some of us need to sup­port our fam­i­lies,” said Angele Er­rie, 17-yearold teen or­ga­nizer for a Thurs­day rally, which be­gan at the Cathe­dral Church of St. Paul. “I’m go­ing to col­lege this year. Un­for­tu­nately my par­ents can’t fully sup­port my ap­pli­ca­tion fees, so I have to pro­vide for my­self as well as my par­ents pro­vid­ing for me.”

The fund­ing they’re ask­ing for would only make a dent in the larger prob­lem of youth un­em­ploy­ment, she said. The rally’s or­ga­niz­ers said the state needs 90,000 jobs to fill the gap be­tween avail­able po­si­tions and young peo­ple look­ing for work.

“This year we’re push­ing for full youth em­ploy­ment,” said 18-year-old Ash­ley Delva, a lead or­ga­nizer for the coali­tion. “Five thou­sand is not enough and we need to slowly in­crease so we can get to 90,000 jobs.”

The re­ces­sion has hit young peo­ple es­pe­cially hard, said Lew Fin­fer, di­rec­tor and or­ga­nizer for the Mas­sachusetts Com­mu­ni­ties Ac­tion Net­work.

The down­turn shrunk the num­ber of avail­able jobs, and shifted more adults into lower-pay­ing jobs that were once filled by more teens, he said.

More than half of Mas­sachusetts

teenagers had jobs around 2000. In 2013, that fig­ure was 28 per­cent, a study from North­east­ern’s Cen­ter for La­bor Mar­ket Stud­ies found.

At the pre-march rally, Eros Mar­quez, 16, vol­un­teered to speak to the crowd of hun­dreds.

“We want jobs. We want money,” the Worces­ter teenager said. “We want the op­por­tu­nity to do bet­ter in the fu­ture.”

“That’s why [we] do ral­lies — to prove that teens can help. They can make a dif­fer­ence. They can con­trib­ute.” Do­minique Sin­gle­tary, 17

Young peo­ple march through Bos­ton dur­ing the rally. NI­CO­LAUS CZARNECKI

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.