The Alternative Schools Network held its annual summit on youth employment on Friday, January 30th, 2015. Entitled “Youth Employment: A Smart Investment”, the event was co-sponsored by and held at the Chicago Urban League on Chicago’s south side. Over 275 individuals attended the event, many from area non-profits and alternative high schools. All that attended were deeply invested in youth employment and had either employed youth through city or state funding, orworked with youth in some capacity. Dr. Paul Harrington of Drexel University presented data and findings showing Chicago, and the state of Illinois, as the leader in youth unemployment – particularly in Black men ages 16-24 years of age. This finding was startling and raises major concerns and ramifications for the future of Black youth and their ability to enter the workforce. A copy of the report can be find at http://www.asnchicago.org/youth-employment. Over 20 youth from area community based organizations and alternative high schools testified to a panel of 14 city and state legislators concerning the importance of work and the skills they learned during their employment over the summer of 2014.
A call to action was put forth for organizations to demand that Governor Rauner set aside funding for summer employment opportunities for youth.