Summer Jobs for Young People Decline Significantly, New JPMorgan Chase Report Reveals

Summer Jobs for Young People Decline Significantly, New JPMorgan Chase Report Reveals

Low-income youth and young people of color face diminished opportunities to gain work experience and skills, limiting potential for economic advancement
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 10:00am

CONTENT: Press Release

New York, January 14, 2015 /3BL Media/ – A new JPMorgan Chase & Co. report released today reveals that only 46 percent of young people who applied for summer employment programs were enrolled in 2014. In the 14 major U.S. cities surveyed, local officials also project that tens of thousands of economically disadvantaged youths looking for jobs will not be able to find them during the upcoming summer months.

The report, “Building Skills Through Summer Jobs: Lessons from the Field,” is part of JPMorgan Chase’s $250 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative to address the mismatch between employer needs and the skills of job seekers. In addition to the decline in available summer jobs, the report shows that there has been a nearly 40 percent decline in summer youth employment over the past 12 years. Further, only 26 percent of young adults in the U.S. held any type of paid job in 2011.

The employment shortage disproportionally impacts low-income youth and young people of color. In the summer of 2013, low-income teens (family income less than $20,000) were 20 percentage points less likely to be employed than high-income teens (family income $60,000 or more). The employment rate among White teens was 39 percent, nearly 27 percent among Hispanic teens and 19 percent among Black teens. White male teens from high income families were five times more likely to be employed than their Black male peers from families with incomes under $20,000.

“Young people are facing an employment crisis,” said Chauncy Lennon, JPMorgan Chase’s Head of Workforce Initiatives. “Too many young people cannot find summer jobs and, as a result, they’re missing out on a critical opportunity to be personally and professionally successful in the future. JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping communities make a long-term investment in increasing the number of available summer jobs and turning those jobs into employment opportunities down the road.”

As young people – especially low-income youth and young people of color – face diminished opportunities to gain summer work experience, employers are increasingly demanding a more skilled workforce. The reports says these heightened expectations mean it is essential for young people to obtain early work experience and develop skills that allow them to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Public and private resources dedicated to summer youth employment programs have been declining and are insufficient to meet the needs of America’s youth, according to the report. Last spring, JPMorgan Chase committed $5 million over two years specifically in initiatives across the country to enhance skill-based and career-specific job opportunities for young people. This commitment, combined with other local support, created almost 50,000 summer jobs for teens and learning opportunities for more than 54,000 young people in 14 cities.

“Summer jobs are a common sense tool to not only provide an earning opportunity, but also a learning opportunity for America's youth,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “The report released by JPMorgan Chase underscores this need and takes a solutions-based approach to addressing summer unemployment among African American youth and helping them develop the necessary job skills for long-term careers.”

Opportunities for the Next Generation of Summer Jobs Programs

The report highlights key opportunities to improve the return on investments in summer youth employment programs and to help equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a changing economy:

  1. Strengthen infrastructure and connections among programs: There is tremendous innovation across summer youth programs. But the cities and programs surveyed in the report identified the need for infrastructure to capture what’s being learned and to expand best practices to more cities. To strengthen quality and sustainability, summer programs need to be connected to each other and to local workforce systems. For example, the development of a “quality framework” with standards of practice for pre-job training, skills development, and performance measurement could benefit many cities.
  2. Deepen private sector engagement: Summer youth employment programs are looking for both resources and jobs from private sector employers. But they are also looking for deeper engagement that can improve the quality of these experiences for young people. For example, private sector employers can share information about key areas of job growth and the skills required for those jobs, and they can also help recruit professional mentors as well as other employers.
  3. Bring a skills focus to summer youth employment: Adding a focus on skills that are currently in demand by employers to summer jobs programs can better prepare young people to compete in the workforce. It can also help cities tap into additional funding for skills training. Still, there is a trade-off between adding skills-based opportunities and expanding the total number of summer jobs. With limited resources, it’s critical to understand which skills-based approaches are most effective.                             

What’s Working: Skill-based Opportunities

JPMorgan Chase’s research also reveals some local summer youth employment programs are beginning to provide pathways to gainful employment for more young people, especially those from low-income families.

St. Louis

Stl Youth Jobs engages at-risk teens and young adults in meaningful employment to reduce crime, increase academic success, and make it more likely that they will get a second job. With the help of public and private investment, young adults are rewarded for the jobs they perform with a paycheck, which teaches young people the value of discipline, sacrifice, respect, and teamwork. Stl Youth Jobs is transforming the future of our workforce.

“Smart investors put their money where there is greatest pay off,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “JPMorgan Chase's investment in summer youth programs in St. Louis and across the county have a direct impact on the lives of young people and their families and on the employers for whom they work. But, the real pay off comes as youth stay in school, gain that second job, and believe in their future – a reality that unfortunately remains out of reach for too many young people across the country. Together, we will solve that problem.”


Youth in Louisville who receive summer jobs through KentuckianaWorks, which oversees the Mayor’s Summerworks programs, are provided weekly job coaching. “Champion” employers assist by offering Work Based Learning Plans that document youth work performance and offer suggestions for improvement. Champions are also encouraged to participate in “Quality Supervision,” in which youth are exposed to a wider range of experiences within an organization, such as board meetings, job shadowing, and mentorship to help them develop additional short and long-term career and education goals.

“As a city, we must maximize the chance for success for our young citizens from both a moral and workforce readiness issue, which is why we created our Summerworks job initiative in 2011,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “JPMorgan Chase’s report reaffirms that a summer job, which is often their very first job experience, can transform a young person’s life, and their family. It can set the tone and the course for a lifetime.”


Through its Earn and Learn Summer Jobs Program, the City of Milwaukee and a local high school are offering a Certified Nurse Assistant program where teens can receive training for the state exam through Milwaukee Technical College and work experience at Community Health Centers. After completing their clinical experience, young adults take the exam and begin a placement process with private sector employers.

“In Milwaukee, we are working with JPMorgan Chase to grow our Earn and Learn Summer Jobs Program, ensuring that young men and women who need these jobs can find them and get the training they need to enter the workforce,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “As adults, we have a moral obligation to our young people to do all we can to prepare them for the future. That’s why this report from JPMorgan Chase will help Milwaukee, along with cities across the country, increase the number of summer jobs available and make sure those jobs are high quality opportunities that provide the training our young people need to compete.”

San Francisco

SF Summer Jobs+ is a city-wide summer program to help young adults (ages 16-24) find summer employment. Last year, over 7,600 young people participated in new jobs and opportunities through SF Summer Jobs+, working at 188 organizations from Starbucks to Uniqlo to UCSF. This initiative is a partnership between the City of San Francisco, United Way of the Bay Area, the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the San Francisco Unified School District, youth-serving nonprofits and the San Francisco business community.

“San Francisco is investing in the future of our youth – particularly our low-income and disadvantaged youth – by providing more than 7,000 jobs and paid internships this past summer and year round so they are prepared to win the jobs of the 21st Century new economy,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “We know that if we create meaningful employment opportunities for our young people, we set them up for success now and in the future. I thank JPMorgan Chase for partnering with us on Summer Jobs Plus to invest in the success of our City’s youth.”


About the Report

This JPMorgan Chase report is a qualitative analysis of 16 summer youth employment programs, representing a cross-section of models, within the 14 cities - Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Jacksonville, Jersey City, Louisville, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis - where JPMorgan Chase funded 2014 summer youth employment initiatives. In conjunction with JPMorgan Chase’s partners, the Austin Community Foundation, BuzzWord and Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the report draws from an array of data gathered through in-depth surveys, individual interviews with program directors, focus groups with participating youth and interviews with employers, partner organizations and program staff.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at



Steve O'Halloran
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