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The Voice of the Black Community


Push for youth jobs bill
Published Thursday, May 13, 2010 9:28 am
by Dorothy Rowley, Afro-American Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Citing the lingering, widespread joblessness among black youth, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have gathered on Capitol Hill to urge the Senate to pass a bill aimed at putting more of those youth to work this summer.

The 42-member caucus had been in line to receive $1.5 billion for the creation of 500,000 summer jobs, as outlined in the Youth Jobs Act of 2010. But after nearly six months, that measure has stalled in the Senate along with 300 other bills that have passed the House.

Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) blamed Senate procedures for the delay, which he said make it difficult to come up with new programs aimed at youth unemployment and other pressing issues.

“This is an emergency,” Burris said during a May 6 press conference. “I will be working very hard with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle of the United States Senate to say that it is crucial [that the bill be passed].”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of black males ages 16-19 are unemployed.

In the nation’s capital, overall joblessness hovers at about 10 percent. ?Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) called for advocacy groups such as the NAACP to step forward and demand action on the bill. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) said failure to quickly address the matter could cause serious societal problems.

“If we don’t, we’ll suffer the consequences,” Kilpatrick said. “We can’t afford another catastrophic situation in this country…and putting [youth] as well as their parents back to work ought to be at the top of the list.”


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