The Independent

Roosevelt Students Rally at Thompson Center for Jobs

Janean L. Watkins, Editor in Chief

April 17, 2012

              Students from Roosevelt High School gathered outside of the James Thompson Center on Tuesday, April 3, in protest of the lack of summer jobs for youth. The protesters demanded answers from city officials as to whether or not there would be an increase in job opportunities for youth in Chicago. Students held signs that read “Invest in the future,” “More jobs = less violence,” and “Travel to my neighborhood & I’ll tell you what I want.” According to Chicago Reporter, since 2008, 530 youths have been killed in Chicago. This same source reports that in 2010, a whopping 26,984 juveniles were arrested in the city. These startling statistics are juxtaposed against the lack of jobs available to youth during the months, when the majority of criminal activity is on an incline. Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for Labor Market Studies prepared a study for the Alternative Schools Network, which states that in Illinois, the youth employment rate went from, “50 percent in the 1999-2000 periods to 36 percent in 2007 and to only 27.5 percent in 2011.” Young adults are speaking out for themselves about what their needs are. Yesenia Nova, an affiliate of Put Illinois To Work, said, “What we need is the motivation. That’s what really helped me personally; to have a job, to be important as a young adult, to have the skills to succeed in our careers.” In January, Chicago Urban League held a Youth Joblessness Hearing. At this hearing, youths were able to speak out on their own behalf regarding the dire situation of the lack of jobs for youths. “These jobs would help us become better parents and be more responsible,” said Myhara Primrose. Students all over the city expressed a desire to find employment for a variety of reasons that range from the need to care for their small children, to keeping them out of the prison industrial complex. “I have two little ones to take care of, so I have a lot of responsibility,” said Dorothy Howard, representative of Jobs for Youth. “… By me having a job, I think it will be a good step for me toward being independent.”  ...

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Youth Joblessness Hearing