With local unemployment above ten percent, Kentucky Kingdom still closed and federal funds lacking, summer job opportunities for area teenagers will again be scarce.
Mayor Greg Fischer has sought to raise money for summer jobs programs and he’s encouraged businesses to hire students on summer vacation. Kentuckiana Works Executive Director Michael Gritton says an announcement about Fischer’s success will be made soon. He adds that he’s impressed with the action that’s followed Fischer’s call for money and jobs, but he’d like the federal government to pitch in as well.
“In the last two years, the federal government gave organizations like Kentuckiana works money to try to put kids to work in the summer. So part of what we did to try to jumpstart the economy was give kids great job experiences. So last summer we helped more than 700 kids work. The summer before that, it was a little bit under 500. Right? This year we have zero federal money to do that,” he says. “As budgets get tight, there are fewer and fewer of those opportunities. In my view, it’s another one of those places where the federal government has walked away from its obligation. We should be creating job experiences for young people because we know that if we do it, young people will turn out to be better citizens. They will be taxpayers. They will be workers.”
Gritton says only a quarter of students will find jobs this summer nationwide. Ten years ago, half found work.