Illinois Senate committees discuss inequity in education, employment

Lawmakers also discussed the high rate of unemployment among youth and young minorities at the Thursday committee.

In Illinois, for example, the unemployment rate in 2019 was 12.5% for white residents ages 16 to 19, while it was 28.2% for Black residents in that age group.

Jack Wuest, executive director of the Alternative Schools Network, said a young person who is unemployed but returns to school and graduates will save Illinois taxpayers $300,000 over that person’s lifetime.

“They are going to be less in need of the health, welfare and prison systems, and they’re going to make more money and pay more taxes,” Wuest said. “What we need is a broader employment program, with the state, the city and federal government, particularly, providing those kinds of jobs linked to education.”

Wuest said the federal government should bring back a Civilian Conservation Corps — which was a nine-year program established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration during the Great Depression.

Sen. Dick Durbin has proposed a $55 billion federal workforce program, modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps, that would provide training to anyone 16 years or older for at least two weeks for positions lasting a minimum of 12 weeks, but no longer than one year.

“We’ve got a great congressional group in the city and the state to advocate for this kind of level of money that sounds crazy but it isn’t if it provides these young people a chance to move forward, and also provide stability and lack of disturbances and riots that will occur if these young people have no other opportunity and no other outlet,” Wuest said.

via The Southern

November 5, 2020 at 10:02PM

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