Sequestration Will Cut Job Training Slots for Youth in America’s Service and Conservation Corps by 25%

A new study conducted by The Corps Network, the national association of America’s Service and Conservation Corps, indicates that sequestration will have a severe impact upon its members and reduce the amount of young people to whom they can offer job training, educational development, and leadership skills.

Urban Corps of San Diego Corps-to-Career Department Averages 70% Grad Placement


Corps-to-Career Averages  70% Grad Placement 

Employer Partnerships Build Opportunities for Youth

Taken from  the Urban Corps of San Diego newsletter, The Corps Supporter, Spring 2013

The Corps-to-Career department at Urban Corps is averaging a placement rate of 70% among Corpsmembers from our last two graduating classes. Staff attribute the high placement rate to successful partnerships with local employers in business community which help place graduates in positions which suit their interests and skill sets.

"Graduationis an exciting time for our seniors, however the transition can be stressful without a solid job lined up," says Director of Student services Myrna Contreras. "That is why we actively work to establish relationships with employers and help our youth research careers, colleges, and connect with employers before they leave Urban Corps. We do everything we can to ensure their post-program success." 

Companies partnering with Urban Corps offer job shadowing, participate in job fairs, present career information, recruit graduates, or simply communicate job openings.

Among those partnered with UCO is Grondin Construction, a family-owned and operated firm specializing in general contracting, lead abatement, and independent living modifications.

“We have worked with Urban Corps youth on job sites, and as a result, have hired four Corpsmembers over the years,” says Grondin co-owner Caroline Grondin. "We know that when we hire a Corpsmember we are getting a staff member who has participated in a year-long training program, proven their work ethic, and attained valuable skills. Often times they have experience working directly alongside Grondin team members. Our hope is to strengthen this partnership and create a Corpsmember hiring stream with job skills directly suited to our needs.”

Additional valued partnerships exist with the Goodwill, Nuera Contracting & Consulting, American Insulation and the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

The Corps-to-Career Dept. at UCO helps Corpsmembers transition with employment, enroll in college,  and actively seek partnerships with employers. Since the March 2013 graduation in which 27 received diplomas, 17 have been placed in gainful employment and two have been placed in grant/scholarship funded training programs.

(There are many advantages to partnering with UCO to help fulfill staffing needs. Contact UCO Job Developer Geneva Karwoski in the Corps-to-Career Dept. to find out more about setting up an employer partnership. Phone (619) 235-6884 ext 3119 or email

Recommended Reading: "The War at Home: The Struggle for Veterans to Find Jobs”


A very good article was published recently called “The War at Home: The Struggle for Veterans to Find Jobs.” Our partner Veterans Green Jobs is listed as one of the recommended resources available for returning veterans to find employment through programs like Veterans Conservation Corps. Here’s a good segment that shows how the article provides a more comprehensive explanation for why veterans can often struggle upon returning home:

“Military veterans are not taught how to self-promote,” said Lida Citroen, who has a resource on her website specifically devoted to help veterans transition to civilian jobs. “To be successful in service, it is important to put troop and mission ahead of self. Unfortunately, when veterans try to enter the civilian marketplace, they quickly realize they don’t know how to sell themselves to potential employers.”

You can read the full article here.

The Opportunity Index: Does your Zip Code Matter More than your GPA?

Opportunity Nation seeks to make sure that all Americans, no matter where they're from, have the opportunity to get ahead in life and find economic success. (photo of Civicorps graduation in Oakland, CA)

Editor’s note: The Corps Network is a Coalition Partner of the Opportunity Nation campaign. Elizabeth Clay Roy, Deputy Director of Opportunity Nation, spoke at a plenary session on youth unemployment at The Corps Network National Conference, February 2013.

Children all across the country are told that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. America is supposed to be the “Land of Opportunity,” but in reality, what is the likelihood that a child from Starr County, TX will grow up to be a scientist, or a lawyer, or the president of a Fortune 500 company? What are the chances that a budding entrepreneur in Loudon County, VA will be able to start a small business?

It’s no secret that where you grew up and where you live can factor enormously into your chances for upward economic mobility. While some people come from neighborhoods with safe streets, good schools, and plenty of desirable jobs, other people come from neighborhoods with no grocery stores, no doctors, and high crime rates. Simply put, some communities offer residents all the amenities and resources needed for personal success, while other communities offer limited pathways to opportunity.

Two organizations, Opportunity Nation and Measure of America, teamed up to create a tool that measures how much opportunity is available in every state and just about any given county in the U.S. This tool, the Opportunity Index, gives a numeric score and a letter grade to about 2,900 counties. All 50 states and the District of Columbia also received numeric scores.

To generate these scores, Measure of America compiled data from the U.S. Census and other publically available records to look at how each state and county fared in three dimensions: Jobs and Local Economy; Education; and Community Health and Civic Life. Rather than just looking at the unemployment rate and the poverty rate, the Opportunity Scores generated by the Index encompass multiple factors that have been demonstrated to impact academic and economic chances.

 “We felt like there was a limited dialogue about how we were doing as a country economically,” said Elizabeth Clay Roy, Deputy Director of Opportunity Nation. “If the official unemployment rate goes up or down, that is significant for a few thousand people, but if new jobs are all low wage that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s going to be a serious impact on economic opportunity…It’s not just about the job you have today. It’s about a number of factors at the community level that can be a stepping stone to opportunity. For example, if you want to start a business but there are no banking institutions to give you a loan, that’s going to limit opportunity. If you have trouble concentrating in school because you’re so concerned about the violence happening in the streets, that’s going to impact opportunity.”

Opportunity Nation is not a research organization; it is a bipartisan national campaign made of community groups, faith-based organizations, non-profits, businesses and educational institutions working to expand economic opportunity. The Index gives Opportunity Nation information to support their campaign and a tool to help spread awareness about America’s opportunity gap.

“Part of what spurred our decision to create this Index was a conversation we had with a young man in New York City as a part of our National Listening Tour who said that he felt like the zip code he grew up in was more important than his GPA in determining his life chances,” said Ms. Clay Roy. “This wasn’t a young man who was trying to excuse a low GPA. He had done well in high school, but he was trying to say that those grades were less important than the school he went to in terms of his chances of getting ahead. We realized how important it was to consider place and community as indicators of opportunity.”

The three dimensions that factor into a state or county Opportunity Score (Jobs and Local Economy, Education, and Community Health and Civic Life) are broken down into numerous indicators of opportunity that can be measured with the data compiled by Measure of America. For example, to see how a region is doing in the Jobs and Local Economy dimension, the Index looks at (among other things) the unemployment rate, the poverty rate, and how many banking institutions there are per 1,000 residents. The Education Dimension looks at preschool enrollment, the on-time high school graduation rate, and the number of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree. The Community Health and Civic Life dimension looks at (among other things) violent crime rates, the number of primary care physicians, and the number of young adults who are unemployed and not in school.

So how much opportunity is available for that child in Starr County, TX? How much opportunity is available to that entrepreneur in Loudon County, VA? Starr County received a D minus on the Opportunity Index, while Loudon County received an A minus. Starr has a median household income of less than $25,000 and nearly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Loudon County on the other hand has a median household income of over $115,000 and a poverty rate of only about 3 percent. However, the results of these two indicators are perhaps not what resulted in the two counties having such drastically different scores on the Opportunity Index.

The Opportunity Index map. The darker blue areas are places with higher Opportunity Scores. The lighter blue areas are places with lower Opportunity Scores.


 “When we initially did the Index we thought that the indicator that would be most highly correlated with a state Opportunity Score would be median income, or the poverty rate – something that indicated how wealthy the state is. But as it turned out, the indicator that most correlated with a state’s opportunity score was the percentage of 16 – 24 year olds not in school and not working,” said Ms. Clay Roy. “In a state like Nevada, where you have a high proportion of young people not in school and not working, you get a very low score. In states like Vermont and Minnesota where you have more young people in school and working, you have higher opportunity scores.”

The Opportunity Index tells us that places like Starr have limited opportunity, but what can be done to help such communities raise their scores? How can we help a state like Nevada be more like Vermont or Minnesota? As part of their campaign to build stronger, more equitable local economies, Opportunity Nation and its coalition members are providing numerous forms of assistance to communities that want to raise their scores.

According to Elizabeth Clay Roy, the first thing Opportunity Nation can do to help a community like Starr is provide more detailed information about how their score was compiled. With specific data, Opportunity Nation can help communities pinpoint policy changes or initiatives that could help raise their score.

“We’re looking to engage elected officials to become aware of these scores and begin governing for opportunity and start to think about making some of their policy decisions in line with advancing opportunity,” said Ms. Clay Roy.   

A second way Opportunity Nation is helping communities is with technical assistance and mini grants. Opportunity Nation has helped make connections between some of their coalition members and local community leaders. For example, they have helped leaders in Hampden County, MA connect with The Springfield Institute and a number of nearby colleges in order to develop plans to address the county’s Opportunity Score. The $1,000 mini grants Opportunity Nation provides generally go towards kicking off local events or service projects that could increase Scores.

Another thing Opportunity Nation has done is simply make sure that stakeholders know about the Opportunity Index. Opportunity Nation works with community leaders and media on a local level to spread awareness. The Index has also received national media attention; since its launch in 2011 the Index has been featured on the cover of TIME magazine, in Newsweek, and on the Huffington Post website. They hope to continue to build media attention and awareness with each new release of the Index.

“Ultimately we believe that no one leader or one institution alone can increase opportunity scores. We think this tool has value for elected officials and institutional leadership, but also for community members of all stripes,” said Ms. Clay Roy. “I think only when there is interest from every side will there really be change. Some elected officials may learn about the Index from an organization like ours and get interested, but I think more likely they’re going to be more influenced when their constituents begin to say we’re disappointed in our score and we know we can be a community that’s better than a C and we want to work together to change this.”

Ms. Clay Roy stressed the importance of making sure the Opportunity Index reached people who are passionate about volunteering, service, and mentoring. Volunteer projects and mentoring can be very important parts of increasing a score in a specific dimension or moving a county’s grade from a C to a B. These kinds of projects are also important in how they help people build a connection with their community and feel a sense of responsibility for how their community scores on the Index.

Opportunity Nation hopes to see an across the board 10 percent increase in opportunity within the next 10 years. They created the Shared Plan to lay out policy and nonpolicy ideas that they believe will lead to increased scores. The Shared Plan’s recommendations include boosting mentoring, engaging employers in connecting with young people, and reauthorizing and reforming the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. 

“Even just between 2011 and 2012 there were real changes. We saw improvement for 40 percent of counties in terms of their grade,” said Ms. Clay Roy. “We see the Opportunity Index as a community awareness and advocacy tool, so we’re really excited that a lot of our grassroots partners around the country have gotten excited or incensed by their Index scores and have started to build local coalitions around community organizations to try and increase their scores…Community organizations have always been at the forefront of advancing opportunity and mobility and economic security. Adding this data just arms them even more with the tools they need to do their work well.”

The Opportunity Index has been released with data for 2011 and 2012. Opportunity Nation plans to continue to release the Index with updated information.  

Click here for a PDF describing the Opportunity Index. 

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) hears about Youth Corps successes

Karla Cordova, 18, tells the Great Outdoors Colorado Board of Directors about her experience on a chainsaw crew with Weld County's GOCO Youth Corps. The GOCO Board held its quarterly meeting in Fort Morgan last week. From The Fort Morgan Times.

From The Fort Morgan Times - by Jenni Grubbs

The Great Outdoors Colorado Board of Directors heard about many issues at its quarterly meeting last week in Fort Morgan, including the Colorado Youth Corps and the upcoming state legislative session.

The Youth Corps program is something GOCO invested $1 million in during fiscal 2011. The funding was for a partnership between GOCO and the Colorado Youth Corps Association.

"The purpose of the funding was to both complete conservation service projects of interest to GOCO and provide employment, training and education opportunities to youth and young adults in Colorado," according to a staff memo to the GOCO Board.

Twnety-two projects received money from this $1 million grant, and 72 weeks worth of work were done in 20 counties.

At least 233 young people received employment in 2011-12 through the Youth Corps because of the GOCO grant, and 134 earned AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling $247,468.

During the 22 projects, youths constructed or repaired 21 miles of trails, cleared 6.6 miles of trail corridors, constructed or repaired 6,519 feet of fencing, planted or transplanted 5,673 trees and removed 6,121 trees. More than 22,900 hours of labor were put in by the youths in corps.

One Youth Corps member spoke to the board about her experiences working with the Weld County Youth Conservation Corps.

Karla Cordova was on the chainsaw crew working in Weld County in 2011-12.

"Being able to do service for the community is a pleasure," she said. "I love to learn and serve."

After having battled cancer and recovering from multiple surgeries, Cordova said she was looking for something to do with her life. She said she chose to join the Weld County Youth Corps "because there's always something to learn and do" while working with that group.

During her work with the Youth Corps, she earned certification in using a chainsaw.

She also split wood, planted trees and removed junk from the Poudre River.

"The program helps me to be responsible and learn," Cordova said. "It's so awesome."

Next, Cordova plans to attend Aims Community College in Greeley.

She advocated for the Youth Corps program to the GOCO Board.

"I truly believe our program helps a lot of people who need it," she said.

GOCO Board President James Smith said he was happy Cordova chose to speak to the board.

"It's a wonderful thing to hear from the participants that it's changing their lives and making a difference," he said.

Jennifer Freeman, Colorado Youth Corps Association executive director, explained to the board that for each job in the Youth Corps, there are nine people like Cordova waiting to fill it.

The board members asked Freeman if more projects could be added and jobs created if the funding were available.

"We don't have any trouble scaling up," Freeman said.

She said that the GOCO grant funds jobs for people ages 14-25 as members of the Youth Corps. Those jobs can be trail maintenance, weed and diseased-tree removal, tree planting, fencing, drainage work, river restoration, new trail construction and lots more.

The Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) is a statewide coalition of 10 accredited youth conservation corps that employ and train youth and young adults on land, water and energy conservation projects. For more information about CYCA or the statewide youth corps coalition, visit

The GOCO board approved continuing to fund the Colorado Youth Corps.

Legislative update

Lobbyist Adam Eichberg, who represents GOCO's interests at the Capitol, told the board about what he expects to see come up at the legislative session that starts in January.

But first he pointed out that November's election results "significantly impacted the shape of the legislature," with Democrats controlling both chambers of the General Assembly and new leaders, including state Sen. Pres. John Morse, whom Eichberg called "a friend of GOCO" and state Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll.

In the state House, new Speaker Mark Ferrandino was someone Eichberg said was a "Denver liberal" who "doesn't quite get what we do," but that House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst would be "good for GOCO."

"I think that's going to be beneficial for us," Eichberg said. "The funding source will be protected, I think."

GOCO primarily gets its funding from the Colorado Lottery Funds, which the state legislature could decide to redirect to other state needs during the budget process.

Eichberg also told the board that members of the Joint Budget Committee, which is made up of both state House and state Senate members, would have new members who all likely would be good for GOCO.

They include: Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver; Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton; Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs; Claire Levy, D-Boulder; Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen; and Crisanta Duran, D-Denver.

"We're in good shape with the JBC," Eichberg said.

But he added that it was expected that "someone would go after the (GOCO) funding source again. Our hope is again to kill (such bills) in committee."

He said he was "optimistic" that GOCO lobbyists would be able to do that in 2013.

Eichberg also said the he would be keeping an eye on a bill concerning conservation easement tax credits, as well as other bills concerning open space and caps on donations and tax credits for conservation.

"Every year there is some surprise," Eichberg said. "I think it will be a very interesting session for John Hickenlooper. The House Democrats are new. They're in power for the first time in 10 years. I think there will be a good partnership, but there will be some challenges."

He said that Hickenlooper will have to work hard to avoid the problems former Gov. Bill Ritter had with the priorities of members of his own party in the legislature.

The new legislative session begins on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

--Contact Jenni Grubbs at

TCN Staff Attend Annie E. Casey Foundation Event on Youth Employment Crisis

On Monday morning, several members of The Corps Network staff attended an event hosted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Patrick McCarthy, President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and an expert panel discussed many of the challenges that young people face in a time of scarce jobs, and the enormous value that programs that help youth can serve. Jamiel Alexander, a member of the National Council of Young Leaders and a representative of YouthBuild USA, introduced a short video.

Our partners at Spark Action have produced an excellent write-up about the event that we recommend. It includes a link to watch a recording of the event in its entirety.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation also released a new report in conjunction with the event titled Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity. 

Click here to download and read the full report

Corpsmember Success Story: Luis Cruz


From the October 2012 edition of Corps Conection - the Sequoia Community Corps Newsletter 
Luis Cruz has been an outstanding member of the Sequoia Community Corps for five years. After a friend told him about the Corps, Luis joined to learn valuable job skills.  Luis has learned how to complete projects such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC repair and more. 
One of Luis’ most memorable experiences as a member of the Corps is assisting a disabled Porterville resident.  She was unable to find work and wasn’t comfortable in her home.  Luis helped install new windows, doors and a stove.  The resident was extremely grateful and Luis was very happy to help someone that really needed it.
After he completes the Corps, Luis hopes to use his skills to help people and to find employment in the construction industry.

Youth Employment Turning the Corner in 2012

Image from Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa


By U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

Published Originally on The Huffington Post (Link)

As young Americans all across the country head back to a new school year, I'm excited to say that many more will take with them lessons learned through summer jobs.

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 
annual report on youth employment. The numbers show that while there's still work to be done, opportunities are growing for young people around the country.

It's no secret that the effect s of the 2007 recession had a significant impact on the job prospects for youth, but today's report showed positive signs that job prospects for young people picked up pace in 2012. Between April and July of each year, the youth labor force (16-24 year olds working or actively looking for a job) grows significantly, as large numbers of students take on summer work and new graduates enter the job market. So July traditionally marks the peak of youth employment during the year.

Today's report showed that youth employment rose by 2.1 million between April and July 2012, with 19.5 million young people employed last month. That's up from 18.6 million a year ago. The youth unemployment rate showed a significant decline, falling to 17.1% -- a percentage point from last year and down two points from 2010. Meanwhile the share of young people employed in July 2012 climbed back up to 50.2% from its historic low last year.

Youth employment increased across a wide variety of industries including education and health services, manufacturing, transportation and utilities, but there remains much work to be done, especially within communities of color. While the labor force participation rate and employment-to-population ratios for African Americans and Latinos all showed significant improvement from 2011 to 2012, both African American (28.6%) and Latino (18.5%) youth continue to have a much higher unemployment rate than their white counterparts (14.9%).

Earlier this year the president and I both took a stand for the importance of summer employment, launching our Summer Jobs+ initiative. By teaming up with committed businesses, nonprofits and cities around the country, this effort provided more than 300,000 summer job opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged youth, including more than 100,000 paid positions.

Together we're helping young people across the country realize that there's no substitute for the real world experience of work and no replacement for the dignity that comes with earning your first paycheck.

Secretary Salazar Proposes 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps

In a speech at this week's DC youth conference Powershift '09, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar drummed up considerable applause in a speech promising to transform the Department of the Interior from being seen as a sort of "Department of the West," or "Department of Oil and Energy and Gas Production" -- and ensuring its proper place as the Department of America. Salazar pumped the Powershift crowd into dizzying cheers when he said the Department of the Interior would reinstitute a national youth conservation Corps to "employ thousands and thousands of young people to come and resurrect the treasures of America." He hopes to create "the best 21st century youth conservation Corps that the world has ever seen."


The Corps Network Praises White House Announcement of Federal and Private Sector Commitments to Provide Employment Opportunities for Nearly 180,000 Youth


This morning The White House released a press release describing the creation of the Summer Jobs+ initiative, a series of commitments aimed to bolster pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth following the failure of such efforts to pass as part of the Americans Jobs Act proposed by President Obama last year. Rob Spath, Interim CEO of The Corps Network released the following statement:

"The Corps Network is very excited to see the White House and President Obama solidly engaged to increase youth employment and even more excited about the emphasis being placed on full-time job opportunities for disconnected youth. The President’s quote “we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job” could not be more in line with our business. This bold leadership is just what we were hoping to see and The Corps Network will make every effort to capitalize on this opportunity including being actively involved with the White House Council for Community Solutions and reaching out to the agencies and businesses who have been identified as willing to make significant commitments." 

Below you can find the official White House release about Summer Jobs+ as reprinted from

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 05, 2012

We Can't Wait: The White House Announces Federal and Private Sector Commitments to Provide Employment Opportunities for Nearly 180,000 Youth


Today, the White House announced Summer Jobs+, a new call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. The President proposed $1.5 billion for high-impact summer jobs and year-round employment for low-income youth ages 16-24 in the American Jobs Act as part of the Pathways Back to Work fund. When Congress failed to act, the Federal government and private sector came together to commit to creating nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 employment opportunities by the start of summer, at least 100,000 of which will be placements in paid jobs and internships. Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama Administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congress to act.  

 “America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job.  It’s important for their future, and for America’s.  That’s why I proposed a summer jobs program for youth in the American Jobs Act – a plan that Congress failed to pass.  America’s youth can’t wait for Congress to act.  This is an all-hands-on-deck moment.  That’s why today, we’re launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my Administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America’s youth,” said President Obama.

“While young people who are currently disconnected from school or work are not contributing to our economy, we see these young people as ‘Opportunity Youth’ – because of the untapped potential they bring to the Nation.  Today, the White House challenged all sectors to go all-in and work together in creating pathways to youth employment.  Summer jobs are an important step – and to stay on the path to success, Opportunity Youth need social supports and access to relevant education, mentoring and training.  This spring, the White House Council for Community Solutions will participate in community discussions nationwide to learn from best efforts by youth, families, government, business, educators, and nonprofits to connect young people to meaningful career opportunities,” said Patty Stonesifer,Chair of the White House Council for Community Solutions (WHCCS).

The Administration also announced its intention to launch, within 60 days, the Summer Jobs+ Bank, a one-stop search tool for youth to access postings for any participating employers seeking to reach them where they are online. The search tool builds upon an open standard, the JobPosting schema endorsed by in November, 2011 in support of the Veterans Jobs Bank,and will include technical and promotional support by Google,, AfterCollege, LinkedIn and Facebook. Today the Corporation for National and Community Service released a new toolkit created in collaboration with the WHCCS and employers to support businesses and communities in their efforts to help young people become productive citizens and connect to greater opportunities, both of which are critical for the long-term strength and competiveness of the Nation.

Today’s announcements build on previous commitments from the Obama Administration to support summer youth employment. In 2009 and 2010, communities across the country used Recovery Act funds to directly support summer work opportunities for over 367,000 young people. In the summer of 2011, the Department of Labor brought together private sector commitments to employ over 80,000 youth.

A new analysis released today by the WHCCS showed that in 2011 alone, taxpayers shouldered more than $93 billion in direct costs and lost tax revenue to support young adults disconnected from school and work. Over the lifetime of these young people, taxpayers will assume a $1.6 trillion burden to meet the increased needs and lost revenue from this group. Read the full analysis here.  

Businesses, non-profits and government can accept the President’s call-to-action by directly hiring youth as well as providing corporate mentorship experiences, internship, and other opportunities that connect young people to jobs. The three key ways organizations can engage are:

  • Learn and Earn: Provide youth jobs for the summer of 2012 in the form of paid internships and/or permanent positions that provide on-the-job training. Of the roughly 180,000 job commitments announced today more than 70,000 are Learn and Earn commitments
  • Life Skills:Provide youth work-related soft skills, such as communication, time management and teamwork, through coursework and/or experience.  This includes resume writing or interview workshops and mentorship programs.
  • Work Skills:Provide youth insight into the world of work to prepare for employment.  This includes job shadow days and internships. More information about this initiative can be found at

As the nation continues to recover from the deepest recession since the Great Depression, American youth are struggling to get the work experience they need for jobs of the future. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (Current Population Survey):

  • 48.8 percent of youth between the ages of 16-24 were employed in July, the month when youth employment usually peaks. This is significantly lower than the 59.2 percent of youth who were employed five years ago and 63.3 percent of youth who were employed 10 years ago. 
  • Minority youth had an especially difficult time finding employment this past summer. Only 34.6 percent of African American youth and 42.9 percent of Hispanic youth had a job this past July.

In addition to the organizations making commitments for the summer of 2012, the Department of Labor will honor UPS, We Are Golf, Wells Fargo, and Jamba Juice for their strong participation in their 2011 summer jobs effort and the Corporation for National and Community Service will honor Bank of America, State Street, Viacom, Deloitte, and JP Morgan for their leadership in corporate mentoring over the past year.

Commitments Announced Include:

The American Association of People with Disabilities(AAPD) is committed to improving employment outcomes for the many people with disabilities who are ready, willing, and able to work.  The AAPD Summer Internship Program will provide 30 young people with disabilities the opportunity to engage in ten weeks of public service through paid internships on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses. 

AT&Tis committed to providing nearly 350 summer jobs in 2012 through a variety of summer job initiatives.  These opportunities help students, from high school to recent college graduates, develop skills and gain insight while preparing them to more successfully enter the job market.  Examples of AT&T summer opportunities for college students include leadership development internships on the fields on finance, retail, IT and engineering, as well as participation in college internship initiatives with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program.  In addition to these unique opportunities, AT&T will also provide high school students the opportunity to experience the world of work through the Mayor’s Interns Fellows Program in Newark, NJ.  Also in 2012, AT&T will reach their initial goal of providing 100,000 high school students the opportunity to learn more about career options and what it takes to be successful in today’s workforce through the AT&T/JA Worldwide Job Shadow Initiative.

Bank of America, as part of its broader three-year $50 million goal to support education and workforce development opportunities for underserved populations, will continue to invest significantly in youth and young adults in 2012, including 1,500 paid internships  at the company and local nonprofits as well as job placement programs, in conjunction with more than 80,000 hours from employee volunteers. Recognizing the value of mentoring to help make opportunities possible for young people, Bank of America served as the primary sponsor of the National Mentoring Partnership’s 2011 National Mentoring Summit, at which the Corporate Mentoring Challenge was launched.  In 2011, Bank of America invested more than $15 million, and its employees volunteered more than 75,000 hours to help youth and young adults attain life and work skills to propel them towards long-term success.

Baxter International Inc.pledges to support Summer Jobs+ by expanding their education initiative, Science@Work.  As an extension of Science@Work – a multiyear commitment to support teacher training and student development in healthcare and biotechnology through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools – Baxter will reach 300-500 students. These students will participate in a variety of programs: the Career Training Program, in which Baxter professionals will assist students with career planning, soft skill development and interviewing skills; the 2012 Summer Job Shadowing program, in which students will participate in a unique shadowing experience with young Baxter professionals; and through Science @Work Community of Support, in which students will participate in an on-going relationship management program that provides counsel and professional support during college careers.

Bender Consulting Services, committed to investing in youth who are living with disabilities, to support the development of life and work skills required by private and public sector employers.  Partnering with local high-schools in Pittsburgh, PA and Newark, DE, Bender Consulting, through the year-long Bender Leadership Academy Program will train 60 high-school students with disabilities, many who are low-income, about how to be successful in the world of work.   Four students who complete this program will work on a short-term paid summer internship in Bender Consulting’s offices in Pittsburgh, PA.  Bender Consulting will also provide two to four, 12 week summer HR internships to low income youth, including youth with disabilities.

The Camber Corporation provides young people with real-life work experience, opportunities to enhance their professional skillsets, and mentorship from their qualified employees during paid internships. In 2011, 25% of their graduated interns were hired as full-time Camber employees to serve in the areas of accounting, engineering, and human resources. In 2012, Camber plans to offer 8 internship opportunities.

CenturyLinkhas had summer internship programs for more than 25 years and looks forward to participating in Summer Jobs+ in 2012.  CenturyLink believe that one of its strengths is the diversity of its people, and they are committed to fostering diversity among the 50 summer jobs they will hire this year. 

The Corporation for National and Community Service(CNCS) has made a commitment to provide approximately 4,000 disadvantaged youth with national service opportunities through AmeriCorps programs operating in the summer of 2012. The AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate Program, funded in part through private sector commitments, will place youth in communities across the country to address poverty and hunger.  In addition, AmeriCorps State and National programs will engage youth in education and conservation projects, and the AmeriCorps NCCC Summer of Service program is designed to introduce teenagers, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to national service and to foster in them such values as teamwork, responsibility, and the ethic of serving one’s community. These stipended service opportunities train youth in the life and work skills, such as teamwork, problem solving, and leadership, that are critical for success in the labor market, while engaging in activities that tackle tough societal challenges.

CVS Caremarkis committing to hire over 20,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2012. Many of the new employees will occupy part-time and full-time positions such as pharmacy service associates, technicians, cashiers and interns in a variety of corporate functions.

Deloitte helps American high school students prepare for college and careers through its Their Future Is Our Future program.  As part of this program, 500,000 students have experienced the Life Inc. career exploration curriculum and Deloitte is committed to serve tens of thousands of students in 2012.  Through a series of lessons, self-discovery techniques, and virtual role models tailored for youth in middle and high school, Life, Inc. introduces students to various career possibilities and helps them determine what kind of educational experiences they will need in order to pursue them.   The program includes a website, career guide, teacher’s guide and student journal, which features seven lessons that are delivered by teachers in schools and after school youth programs.  Additionally, through deep relationships with national nonprofits that lead on education including MENTOR, United Way, College Summit and City Year, Deloitte contributes cash, pro bono service and the time of one-on-one mentors to help young people pursue the education and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. 

The Department of Agriculture has made a commitment to provide approximately 7,100 youth with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience during the summer of 2012 by working with various USDA Mission Areas and Agencies throughout the country.  The USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sounds public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.  USDA is committed to forming a pipeline of talented youth who will be our future leaders by giving them the opportunity for hands-on work experience in a variety of science, technology, engineering, math, administrative, management, agribusiness and industry positions.

The Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) will commit to supporting 324 summer jobs for low-income youth in 2012. HHS offices will be supporting paid summer jobs as well as other employment enhancement opportunities.  The Office of Human Resources’ Strategic Programs Division (SPD) will host at least two classes in the “Life Skills” pathway to support 120 youth.  These classes will have up to 50 participants each and will focus on work-related soft skills, such as communication, time management, and teamwork.  Additionally, SPD will allow for 20 students to participate in the “Work Skills” pathway.  These 20 students will shadow SPD employees for the day to offer insight into the federal workplace and to prepare them for employment.

The Department of the Interior has committed to providing approximately 12,000 young Americans with work opportunities in the summer of 2012 on public lands, tribal lands, national parks, wildlife refuges, and environmental restoration projects nationwide. Interior has increased the number of summer job opportunities it offers for young people under the Obama administration by 30 percent – helping more people from all walks of life to enjoy the great outdoors, and to pursue work opportunities and careers in the stewardship of America’s natural, cultural, and historic resources as part of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

The DirectEmployers Associationis a nonprofit HR consortium of leading global employers formed to improve labor market efficiency through the sharing of best practices, research and the development of technology.  They are committed to hiring 5 youths this summer in the Indianapolis area to provide opportunities to learn the skills needed to be successful in the workforce as well as to encourage and motivate them to continue with their education.

Discovery Communicationsprovides multiple avenues for young people to discover a summer job and a lasting career. Through the Discover Your Skills campaign youth can learn about exciting career opportunities in skilled trades and critical growth areas like manufacturing, health care, energy, technology, construction and other industries.  A partnership with Montgomery College provides community college students with the skills they need to take advantage of available job opportunities.  In addition, Discovery’s robust internship program will provide nearly 300 college students career opportunities in a variety of fields in 2012.

Easter Sealswill be working to create summer opportunities for three young people with disabilities and will be disseminating information about the Summer Jobs+ initiative throughout their nationwide network of affiliates.  These positions will be in the "learn and earn" category of the initiative. While working for Easter Seals, young people will have the opportunity to learn various aspects of nonprofit management including marketing and corporate relations, public policy, program management, development and more. 

Expeditors, through its Opportunity Knocks program, recruits and supports disconnected youth so they can get training in a professional environment that can be leveraged for future success.  Since starting the program in 2008, Expeditors has helped 25 disconnected youth in six offices throughout the United States and is committed to adding 75 positions in another twenty offices in 2012 to bring the total participation to 100 youth.  

Gap supporting 80,000 youth in 2012 through a variety of programs, which include connecting youth to employment through the development of relevant life skills and work ready skills, as well as providing on-the-job training through learn and earn experiences.

General Dynamics C4 Systemsis committed to hiring 40 young people during the summer of 2012 and is partnering with Sentinels of Freedom, Wounded Warriors, Diversity Careers, SWE, SHPE, NSBE and WOC to support hiring needs nationwide.

Goodwill Industries Internationalis proud to be one of the first organizations to support the Summer Jobs+ program. Through Goodwill’s unique social enterprise business model, it creates employment and job training. This year, the organization will expand services for youth at the beginning their careers. Goodwill is committed to hiring 1,200 youth ages 16 to 24, provide more than 3,200 youth with life skills services and over 2,300 with work skills services.  Almost 2,000 youth will be engaged in learn and earn services.  Thousands more youth will be provided virtual career mentoring and exploration services.

H-E-Bhas committed to expand their summer jobs program by 19 percent.  In the summer of 2012, 5,171 16-24 year olds will be hired to work at H-E-B.

J.B. Hunt Transportis focused on providing opportunities for young people to experience a professional working environment, particularly those in the Hispanic community in Arkansas. Through a partnership with ALPFA, the company reaches out to local high school students and helps raise awareness of opportunities in business, and provides mentors for college students. For 2012, J.B. Hunt is increasing the number of summer positions at headquarters to 20, and expanding college internships at our field locations throughout the United States.

Jamba Juicehas made a significant commitment to training and hiring young people and will pledge to hire at least 2,500 youth in the summer of 2012. Jamba Juice has a successful summer in 2011 when the company hired nearly 2,700 youth for summer work — 200 more than their pledge made as part of  the "Summer Jobs USA: Make a Commitment" initiative. Additionally, Jamba Juice also recently launched a new internship program for Job Corps students.

JPMorgan Chase has been a leader in supporting “Learn and Earn” and “career and skill development” programs in cities all across the country for decades.  During the 2011 Corporate Mentoring Challenge, JPMorgan Chase was inspired to step up in a leadership role – by funding and launching the Illinois Mentoring Partnership, introducing other potential funders and connecting non-profit organizations, who deliver the programs.  In Chicago, JPMorgan Chase also has supported, since its creation 20 years ago, After School Matters, a program that helps teens discover and nurture their talents and aspirations for future successes. The bank’s support in 2012 will provide 1,300 teens with hands-on, project-based programs to learn about rewarding careers and to help develop marketable job skills.

LinkedInhas committed to offer 200 internships in the summer of 2012. Additionally, LinkedIn is committed to adopting the JobPosting schema and letting any company post their summer internship jobs (or entry level jobs) on the LinkedIn website at no cost.

ManpowerGroupis proud to support summer jobs through a direct commitment of 20 jobs at our global headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and at Manpower branch offices across the nation. Through its work with local Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stop Career Centers, Manpower supports employment opportunities for thousands of people touched by the public workforce system.

Operation HOPE, as part of the Gallup-HOPE Index Cities Initiative, commits to secure 20 businesses and place 500 youth through youth business internships, mentorships, shadow days or actual small business or entrepreneurship start-ups.  Through the Gallup-HOPE Index Cities initiative, Operation HOPE, in partnership with Gallup intend to create a new youth entrepreneurial and business class in America, along with a new culture of progressive business mentoring by Corporate America.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) maintains a strong focus on providing learning and work opportunities for youth in the United States.  Through its host of early-identification programs and a robust internship program designed for undergraduate students, PwC seeks to provide students the learning, coaching, and training opportunities and professional relationships they need to develop professionally and personally, while also learning about unique opportunities in a career in professional services.  For the summer of 2012, PwC is committed to hiring 1,500 youth across the country.

The SI Organization will hire more than 100 young people in 2012 for full-time entry-level and internship/co-op positions focused on engineering and integration services in the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and other agencies.

Starbucks Coffee Companyis supporting more than 25,000 youth this summer through a variety of programs. The company will work with local nonprofits and others to engage 20,000 young people in life skills and job readiness development.  This commitment is in alignment with our Youth Action Grants programs, supporting young people to address critical issues in their communities.  Starbucks supports nonprofit organizations to give young people the skills and resources to be catalysts for change through community service.  One example of an organization Starbucks supports is Generation On in multiple cities across the US; this is a program of Hands On Network. Starbucks plans to work closely with its grant recipients to maximize the life skills training and service opportunities and to increase their outreach to underserved youth. The company will also provide hands-on and learn and earn experiences for 5,000 young people working at Starbucks.

State Street Corporationis committed to providing workforce development and education opportunities to approximately 1,000 youth each summer in cities including Boston, New York, Kansas City, and Sacramento among others.  The company supports a continuum of meaningful job opportunities starting with funding subsidized wage placements in community-based organizations for first-time job experiences, as well as placements in professional positions at State Street for those who have developed basic employability skills and are ready for more responsibility. 

Syracuse Universitywill provide 200 jobs to college-aged students working in the Say Yes to Education Syracuse’s Summer Camp for academic enrichment and youth leadership.  Syracuse University will also provide 50 positions to 16-21 year olds in a SU partnership with CNY Works on a Summer Youth Initiative.  

The McGraw-Hill Companies is committed to growing its 12-week paid summer internship program which employs youth across all of their businesses to 260 summer internships for 2012.  In 2011, McGraw-Hill employed over 250 Summer Interns and roughly 10% of last year’s interns were offered full-time positions after graduation.   

UPS, the global leader in logistics, is continuing its commitment to summer jobs and will offer 1,500 employment opportunities to youth across the country in 2012.  Most opportunities qualify for employment benefits and UPS’ educational assistance program which can pay up to $3,000 a year for educational benefits. 

Viacom has committed to provide internship and mentorship programs to connect youth to employment opportunities.  Through their Summer Associates Program, VIACOM will provide 10 recent college graduates young people a 10 week paid training program in the summer 2012 fostering professional and personal development and unlocking the doors to valuable real-world experience.  Through their partnership with POSSE’s Career Program, Viacom will provide 30 college students high school students with a paid internship. In addition, mentoring initiatives such as Viacom’s national mentoring program Get Connected, created with the Get Schooled Foundation, will assist students through meaningful connections with adults with the ultimate goal of helping to keep them in school and realize their true potential.

WE ARE GOLF is a national not-for-profit organization formed to tell the story of the nearly 2 million hardworking men and women who make golf a great sport and whose livelihoods depend on it.  Golf courses across the country are building on their 2011 commitment of 2,700 summer jobs and WE ARE GOLF is bringing far more golf courses to this initiative in 2012 to offer tens of thousands more jobs to young people.

Wells Fargo has made an ongoing and significant commitment to its communities, including opportunities for summertime work, networking and training for young people. In the summer of 2012, Wells Fargo will support 1,000 employment opportunities for youth.

Along with significant commitments from across the business sector, national organizations are answering the President’s challenge. United Way Worldwide will work with local chapters in approximately 30 cities and regions to host a series of Community Conversations, where local leaders will join with ordinary citizens to map out what they can do to pull together the support needed to create opportunity and pathways for young adults.


About The Corps Network: Established in 1985, The Corps Network is the voice of the nation's 158 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in 46 states and the District of Columbia, The Corps Network enrolls more than 33,000 young men and women annually in service in addition to mobilizing approximately 265,000 community volunteers each year. For more information visit