The FINANCIAL — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) on October 26 announced the selection of five state and local chambers of commerce as grantees to develop programs designed to reduce youth unemployment. This youth employment network will implement employer-driven, work-based learning and employment strategies targeted at 16 to 24 year-old youth and young adults.
“With youth unemployment at historic highs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has launched this network to ensure young people have a clear path to employment and the necessary skills required for their success,” said Cheryl Oldham, vice president of the USCCF Center for Education and Workforce. “It’s critical that the business community plays a leading role in developing programs that meet the needs of industry and support young people in acquiring the skills needed in the marketplace.”
The USCCF’s youth employment initiative is focused on closing the skills gap by developing customized ways for the private sector to develop young talent as part of its overall business strategy. State and local chambers of commerce were selected as partners because they are uniquely positioned to work effectively with their local employers to help address this national problem, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Currently, more than 5 million jobs are going unfilled across the country due to the lack of necessary skills in the labor market,” said Oldham. “Our nation’s competitiveness will be determined by the strength of our future workforce and how well we are preparing young adults. “
The selected chambers are the California Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Main Line Chamber of Commerce (Philadelphia, PA), the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Grants will be disbursed to optimize youth employment programs through May 2017, all in a continued nationwide effort to close the skills gap.