“As long as millions of youth are un- or under-employed, globalization will neither be fair nor just. Helping young people to realize their productive potential and to harness their energies and talents to shape a better world is our challenge and our responsibility today, and our gift to our future”.
Juan Somavia, Director-General
International Labor Organization
In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/64/134) proclaiming the year commencing on 12 August 2010 as the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding (IYY).
But why it is important to recognize young people in today’s world of employment? Wouldn’t the demands of a recession mean that we should worry about getting jobs for anyone and address youth unemployment afterward? Young men and women today build the foundations for the economies and societies of today and tomorrow. They bring energy, talent and creativity to economies and make important contributions as productive workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, agents of change and as members of civil society.
DOL has a long-term commitment to increasing successful policies and practices that support youth development, training and employment as an investment in our country’s economic future. We actively work to foster research and knowledge-building on youth to better inform employment policies for all youth, including youth with disabilities.
Of the world’s estimated 211 million unemployed people in 2009, nearly 40 per cent—or about 81 million—are between 15 and 24 years of age. Secretary Solis’ comments at the Youth Clean Energy Forum recognize the importance of young people as active participants in our economy, “For young people the unemployment rate is an astonishing 27.5%. This is unacceptable to me and to the President…We need passionate young people like you to help lead the way and partner with us in the greening of our country.”
The Department of Labor (DOL) would like to take this opportunity to raise the profile of youth in the employment arena and highlight DOL’s numerous activities and resources available that relate to youth through introducing the International Year of Youth Blog Series.
We hope that you will join us each week as we profile young people, post about different youth-oriented programs and provide information from across various DOL agencies and offices; and that you will share with us your thoughts about youth and youth employment in America.
This post was contributed by Day Al-Mohamed, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Disability Employment Policy