High Unemployment Among Youth Of Color

The bad economy has worried many of us. From losses on investments to lack of jobs, many of us worry about when the economy will turn around. Interestingly, the group most effected by high unemployment is youth. Last week, the Labor Department reported that youth unemployment stands at 18.2%, nearly twice the national average of 9.8%. The percentage of young people without a job is a staggering 53.4 percent, the highest figure since World War II. Those in the age group of 16-24 are most often the demographic who are hired for entry-level positions and groomed to take over high-level positions in the future.

Moreover, youth of color are disportionately effected by high unemployment. Nearly 40% of black youth (ages 16-19) and 30% of Latino youth (16-19) are unemployed versus only 23% of white youth. As youth of color get older, the gap widens-27.1% of black youth between the ages of 20-24 are unemployed versus 13.1% of white youth in the same age rage. This high unemployment rate for young people is startling because without more job opportunities, young people suffer not only in the short-term, but long-term. Their ability to attend college, afford healthcare, purchase homes, and save for retirement leads to long-term problems.

Rinku Sen and Billy Parish suggest in their joint article, that youth of color are the demographic who can most benefit from the new green jobs proposed by the Obama administration. These new jobs are proposed as a solution to both unemployment and saving our environment.

Sen and Parish write: “First, poor economies and environmental degradation have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. People of color occupy jobs in the most hazardous industries and homes in the most environmentally degraded neighborhoods.”

Thus, local groups in communities of color have started green jobs programs for youth that are future-oriented so not only can they enter the job market, but also have the potential to take on more high-level green jobs in the future. For example, in Oakland, the brand new Green Media Youth Center has created green job training programs that are a pathway out of poverty for youth in this community.

I hope Sikh youth can take advantage of these opportunities by seeking out career advice outside the traditional sources-online, familial social networks & college career centers. Often times, we follow the same entry level career paths of working odd jobs, fast food restaurants or retail shops because we don’t know what other creative job opportunities exist. Lastly, Sikh youth are not immune to the issues effecting communities of color because often times we are making up those communities, but not counted in the statistics. Many Sikh youth from working class backgrounds start working at a very young age to help their families with living costs.


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5 Responses to “High Unemployment Among Youth Of Color”

  1. BUNDESPOPEL says:

    If Obama would stand for what he promised before elections it truly was an advantage to Sikh youth to benefit from environment jobs.

    I hope he returns to his point of view. He can.

  2. BUNDESPOPEL says:

    If Obama would stand for what he promised before elections it truly was an advantage to Sikh youth to benefit from environment jobs.

    I hope he returns to his point of view. He can.

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