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SBA & Small Business Majority Look to Small Business to Help Address Nation’s Youth Unemployment

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Small Business Majority announced their joint commitment to encourage small employers to create job opportunities for young people as part of a national sign-on campaign. The campaign aims to help bridge the gap between youth who are out of school and out of work, and small businesses needing to fill key entry-level positions.

“Unemployment remains stubbornly high for young Americans, with one in four Millennials currently out of work,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “Youth unemployment impedes the growth of local economies, with a disproportionate negative impact on underserved communities. Together with Small Business Majority, SBA is working to ensure that today’s youth have the career options they need to thrive and succeed and that small businesses—the engine of our economy—have a strong, dedicated workforce.  Connecting youth and small business owners will not only help address unemployment, but it could spark the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Over the next year, the SBA and Small Business Majority will strive to help today’s youth get back to work by having small businesses pledge to one or more actions outlined in the campaign. Pledge companies will commit to increasing the number of youth hires within their company, expanding full or part-time internships, or providing mentorship opportunities.

This campaign builds on existing efforts by the SBA and Small Business Majority to create more opportunities for youth and Millennials across the country, including youth of color. Last year, President Obama launched the “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative” to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. The SBA’s commitment to this initiative aims to help create pipelines for all young people, including young people of color, to enter the workforce, and, perhaps, one day own their own business.

“Last year, we pledged to find 100 small employers who were committed to providing opportunities for young Americans and are proud to say we far exceeded our goal. With our partners at the SBA, we’re excited to build upon this work to create professional opportunities for our nation’s youth while providing small businesses with qualified workers,” said John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority. “Far too many young Americans are struggling to find jobs after they leave school, which negatively affects economic demand. By solving this problem, we will foster better workforces, which will bolster small employers and our economy as a whole.”

SBA Regional Administrator Kellie LeDet, who oversees all programs and services for the SBA throughout New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands said, “Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics show the number of unemployed youth was at 2.8 million in July 2015, down from 3.4 million a year earlier.  The youth unemployment rate was 12.2 percent in July 2015, 2.1 percentage points less than a year before.  While the numbers are trending down, this partnership between SBA and Small Business Majority can only create more employment opportunities among our youth and continue to drive down those unemployment numbers among the demographic between the ages of 16 to 24-years-old.”


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