On January 5, Baxter International Inc. participated in an announcement with the White House Council for Community Solutions (WHCCS) and the U.S. Department of Labor to launch Summer Jobs+, a new call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. Baxter attended a launch event with President Barack Obama, Musician Jon Bon Jovi, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, multiple civic and community leaders and more than 35 companies.
"Providing students real-world, hands-on experience is the cornerstone of Baxter's Science@Work education initiative," said Senior Director of Global Community Relations Alice Campbell. "In conjunction with Summer Jobs+, we will now provide area students with additional development opportunities to learn from experts in the field."
Baxter will provide opportunities for 300-500 Chicago-area youth through the company's Science@Work: Expanding Minds With Real-World Science education initiative – a multiyear commitment to support teacher training and student development in healthcare and biotechnology. Students will participate in a variety of programs including career training in which Baxter professionals will assist students with career planning, soft skill development and interviewing skills; a 2012 summer job shadowing program in which students will participate in a unique shadowing experience with young Baxter professionals; and through Science@Work Community of Support in which students will participate in an on-going relationship management program that provides counsel and professional support during college.
Summer Jobs+ identifies three key ways for companies to help connect youth to a better future while simultaneously deriving benefits for their businesses, such as increased employee engagement, customer loyalty and employee retention:
Life Skills: Provide youth work-related soft skills, such as communication, time management and teamwork, through training, coursework or on-the-job experience.
Work Skills: Provide youth insight into the world of work to prepare for employment. For example, businesses can host job shadow days.
Learn and Earn: Provide youth on-the-job skills in a learning environment while earning wages for their work. For example, businesses can offer paid internships that provide on-the-job training.
According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (Current Population Survey), 48.8 percent of youth between the ages of 16-24 were employed in July, the month when youth employment usually peaks. This is significantly lower than the 59.2 percent of youth who were employed five years ago. Summer Jobs+ will bring nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 employment opportunities by the start of summer, at least 100,000 of which will be placements in paid jobs and internships.