During the Great Recession unemployment soared among all age groups; however, young Americans were hit exceptionally hard. In fact, unemployment rates for young minority youth were as high as 33%, and even higher for young people of color. While the nation is experiencing a recovery, all young Americans between the ages of 16-24 continue to face significant challenges with getting a foothold in the labor market. Meanwhile, the majority of small employers report they struggle to find qualified workers to fill entry-level job vacancies.
As major job creators, employing nearly half of the private sector workforce, small businesses can play a role in employing America’s young people while meeting their business needs. With more than 23 million small businesses nationwide and nearly 6.7 million young Americans out of school and out of work, small businesses are in a unique position to offer opportunities that help young people develop skills while also helping them enter the labor market.
In fact, Small Business Majority’s opinion polling found small businesses that are hiring are having a hard time finding candidates with the background, and that the majority of small businesses support addressing the job skills gap by implementing apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs.
SBA and Small Business Majority recognize that more can be done to meet the challenges of youth unemployment, and we are committed to identifying meaningful career and educational opportunities for our nation’s opportunity youth – the millions of young Americans who are out of school and out of work – while at the same time meeting the human capital needs of small businesses, which is why we hope you will join the Small Biz 4 Youth Pledge.