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Michigan Business Beat | Ryan Hundt - Michigan Works! Association June is Youth Employment Month

Michigan Business Beat
June 10, 2022 5:00 PM


Chris Holman welcomes back Ryan Hundt, CEO, Michigan Works! Association, Lansing, but serving statewide.

Watch Ryan and Chris discuss June being Youth Employment Month in the YouTube video below:

In the interview Chris looks to find out from Ryan;

I understand June is Youth Employment Month. Why is it important to call attention to this topic?

· Nearly all young people – 98.6 percent – hold at least one job between the ages of 18 and 25.

· The average young person holds 6.3 jobs between 18 and 25 – some work part-time or summers only, while others see full-time, permanent employment as their path to economic independence.

· Employment can be beneficial for youth by teaching responsibility, organization, and time management and helping to establish good work habits, experience, and financial stability.

· There are many advantages to working during high school, especially for low-income youth, including higher employment rates and wages in later teen years and lower probabilities of dropping out of high school.

· Knowing how to find and keep a job is not only critical for admission to the adult world but also is an important survival skill for which there is little in the way of formal, structured preparation.

Why are youth employment programs so important?

· By 2025, the overwhelming majority of U.S. jobs will demand some post-secondary education or specialized training.

· Youth who participate in youth education programs are often the first in line to be trained in skill sets that are sorely needed in today’s job market and gain real-world working experiences that increase their marketability.

· Youth employment has proven to help build young people to be ready for the world’s job market as well as boost their self-esteem and develop soft skills.

· Some of those soft skills include:

o Creative thinking

o Time management

o Teamwork

o Problem-solving

o Critical thinking

o Communication

· It has also been proven that youth employment has reduced the number of crimes in communities through keeping teenagers busy with work opportunities during the summer.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity recently awarded Young Professionals grants to Michigan Works! agencies across the state. What are these grants for?

· A total of $4 million in Young Professionals grants were awarded in March across the Michigan Works! agencies.

· These grants are designed to reduce youth unemployment and place young adults, ages 14-24, on the right path to achieve lifelong economic self-sufficiency.

· The grants support young adults who are struggling on the path to obtain employment by exposing them to multiple career and educational opportunities, such as entering a Registered Apprenticeship program, earning a college degree or certificate, and obtaining sustainable employment.

· Michigan Works! knows these youth employment experiences can be life changing.

· Michigan Works! Strives to equip youth with essential skills, connecting them to employment and building a talent pipeline.

· Providing opportunities, such as the Young Professionals initiative, creates an investment in the future for our local communities and helps open doors for youth to become powerful advocates for sustainable change.

· Nearly 45 percent of Michigan high school students are economically disadvantaged and could benefit from preparation for and entry into employment.

· These grants will help reduce the impact of high-risk factors, including poverty, while providing an opportunity to earn valuable income for themselves and their families.

· The Young Professionals grant program aligns with Michigan’s 60 by 30 goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60 percent by 2030.

What efforts is the Michigan Works! Association taking with state lawmakers to support youth work experience?

· One of the Association’s 2022 state legislative priorities is investment in summer and year-round work experience for youth.

· National data supporting the need for investment in our youth includes:

o People ages 18-24 account for 24 percent of all low-wage workers.

o Pre-pandemic, the poverty rate for youth ages 18-24 was 13.3 percent, well above the rate of 10.5 percent among all adults.

o Among young people who were unemployed in July 2020, over half were out of work due to the pandemic.

o Freshmen enrollment in higher education declined 13.1 percent in fall 2020, driven by an unprecedented 21 percent decline at public two-year colleges.

· The Michigan Works! network is encouraging state lawmakers to make an $80 million investment over the next three years to support work experience, career coaching, and wraparound services for youth.

· This funding will help create a more holistic approach to youth work experience.

· Data gathered following the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) suggests we need to broaden the scope of services and tools that can mobilize additional public and private investment in youth beyond summer employment programs.

· Efforts must focus on paid work as an initial reconnection strategy, but long-term success depends upon linking paid work experiences to investments in structured education and training opportunities.

· Early exposure to work experience through summer and year-round employment, internships, and service opportunities can be a key indicator of consistent employment in adulthood.

· This requested increase will also expand opportunities for historically oppressed communities and those that have experienced systemic underinvestment, ensure community-driven and data-informed solutions, and enhance interagency and cross-system alignment.

How can our listeners learn more about the Michigan Works! network?

· You can visit the Association website where you can find a map that will link you to the websites of each of our Michigan Works! organizations.

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Michigan Business Beat, hosted by Chris Holman, discusses economic development, new or unusual entrepreneurial initiatives, and successful business practices from different regions and industries around Michigan with a wide range of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

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