With Mass. Teen Employment Rate Way Down, Young People Push For Funding

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Hundreds of young people from across Massachusetts are planning to converge on the State House to push for summer jobs funding.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is also scheduled to speak at the Thursday rally, slated to begin at 11:45 a.m. at Faneuil Hall. The teens then plan to march to the State House.

Those taking part in the march say they plan to visit with lawmakers to press their case.

Organizers from the Youth Jobs Coalition say they want lawmakers to support $16 million in funding for two youth job initiatives and approve new state tax revenue to ensure there's enough money to pay for the programs.

In a report (PDF), the coalition says the state's teen summer employment rate fell from an average of 54 percent in 1999 to 27 percent last year — an all-time low.

Having a summer job, organizers said, gives young people basic skills needed for employment.

Dan Gelbtuch, with the Youth Jobs Coalition, added: "We have so many talented young people that could really help the economy and help Massachusetts and we're not going to get that because they're not getting an opportunity as a young person."

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on February 21, 2013.

This program aired on February 21, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.