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While the overall unemployment rate is 4.9%, for young people--those between 16 to 24-years-old--it’s more than double at 11.5%. At the same time employers have a hard time finding workers with the skills they need to fill job openings.
Getting young people into the workforce with skills they will need to support themselves is critical for continued economic growth.
At the Boy Scouts of America’s Top Hands meeting in New Orleans, U.S. Chamber president and CEO Tom Donohue—himself an Eagle Scout--talked about tackling youth unemployment.
One approach is to “identify, train, and recruit young talent” through the Boy Scouts of America’s Exploring program, the BSA’s hands-on career-development program for young people:
Through Exploring, the Boy Scouts can bring to the table young people who are eager to learn and succeed. And the business community can bring the jobs.
The founder of the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell said, “There is no teaching to compare with example.” In that spirit, Exploring is built around the idea that preparing students for the future shouldn’t just take place in the classroom. It should take place in the offices, on the shop floors, in the studios, and in the labs where the work is done.
Exploring focuses on hands-on experience and mentorship—building character, teaching life skills, and instilling the value of hard work. These are the kinds of attributes that will help young people succeed in any career they choose.
Exploring gives students a chance to try out jobs, focus their studies, and set out on a path to success after high school—whether it’s in a skilled trade or in pursuit of higher education.
Donohue encouraged more businesses to take part:
For businesses, participating in Exploring is a chance to do good in their communities by investing in young people’s lives, helping create jobs, and strengthening the local economy. But it’s also a chance for businesses to do well—it can help the bottom line!
Many companies and organizations that participate in Exploring end up building a talent pipeline that feeds into their workforce. Young men and women in the program learn skills that are unique to participating companies and establish lasting relationships and mutual trust. So when the company has a position to fill, they have qualified candidates ready to do the job.
Another way Donohue discussed is developing a “talent pipeline,” an idea developed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation:
One way is through what we call “Talent Pipeline Management”—a demand-driven approach to finding qualified workers. Using traditional supply chain management practices, businesses are partnering with educational institutions to “source” talent. It’s pretty simple: The employers define the specific skills they need in their workforce. The educators develop curriculum tailored to the employers’ needs and make students aware of existing job opportunities. And then the students emerge from these programs equipped with the right qualifications and ready to hit the ground running on day one.
Through hands-on learning about careers and how to get the skills necessary to land those jobs doors will open for young people and help them succeed economically.
Learn more at YouthEmploymentWorks.org.