On a frigid February day in Boston, hundreds of young people backed by Mayor Thomas Menino rallied outside the statehouse for increased funding for summer jobs. Only about one in four teenagers in Massachusetts held a job last summer, rally organizers told the Associated Press. Twelve summers ago, more than half of all teens in the state worked.
The decline in summer job opportunities is not unique to Massachusetts. Across the United States, the summer employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds fell from 51.7 percent in 2000 to about 33 percent in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Summer programs, especially ones that provide work experience, help young people expand their experiences, learn new skills and forge new relationships with peers, adults and potential employers.
Like the young people who marched on Beacon Street, youth-serving organizations must draw upon their state and local governments and create partnerships with private businesses and nonprofit groups if they want to create summer jobs for their clients, according to several jobs corps leaders and city officials.
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