Summer is a critical time for young people, and for many young Americans, it is also a crucial time to look for a first job—an important step in building skills and experiences for their future. Yet for a young person looking to start off in the workforce, the prospect of finding a job with a blank resume, limited education, and no meaningful connections to employers can be daunting. A study found that last summer nearly 46 percent of youth who applied for summer jobs were turned down. The summer “opportunity gap” can contribute to gaps in achievement, employment, and college and career success, particularly for low-income students who lose access to critical supports that keep them safe, healthy and engaged during the school year. Summer opportunities have been shown to divert youth from criminal involvement and reduce overall violence, and they also offer a chance for young people to get their first exposure to the workplace and build financial skills that they can build on throughout their lives. But these benefits are only possible if young people can find those opportunities.
To meet this challenge, state and local leaders, community-based organizations, private sector leaders, philanthropic leaders, schools and other youth-serving agencies are coming together to create a set of supports that enable strong transitions from school year to school year and from high school to college and to create careers by implementing and spreading proven interventions. The Summer Opportunity Project is a multi-agency effort in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association and other collaborators to provide support to communities. The Project aims to significantly increase the percentage of youth in evidence-based summer opportunity programs, decrease the percentage of youth experiencing violence over the summer, and—more broadly—make sure that young Americans have the support they need to get their first job.
Research shows that Black and Hispanic teenage boys lag behind their peers in summer employment and year-round jobs. This employment gap broadens as young men get older, making them the highest percentage of the nearly seven million youth 16-24 disconnected from school and work. That’s why the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force recommended to the President in May of 2014 strengthening the case for summer youth employment and launching a cross-sector campaign to reduce summer learning loss and increase the number of job and internship opportunities for all young people. Today’s announcement builds on the Task Force’s commitment to this critical issue, and will engage the more than 200 communities that have accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge and scores of cross-sector organizations working to expand opportunity for all young people.
The Summer Opportunity Project was launched on February 26, 2016 at a White House Summer Opportunity workshop and Champions of Change event that highlights local leaders making a difference in this space and brings together key stakeholders from around the country to share best practices and collaborate on future plans.
FACT SHEET: White House Announces New Summer Opportunity Project
Summer Opportunity: Here's How You Can Help More Young Americans Land That First Job
2016 Summer Opportunities Funding Resource Guide (includes complimentary resources, such as: Fact Sheet, Funding Resource Guide, Action Toolkit, Infographic, and Press Release)