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May 12, 2003
Teenage Workers Face Challenge This Summer
Shortfalls in budgets in Massachusetts and a weak economy in general mean that more teenage workers will experience difficulty in finding jobs this summer, the Boston Globe reports.

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The newspaper notes that thousands of teenage workers in Boston could be left jobless over the summer due to cuts to summer jobs programs, and layoffs and a lack of hiring in the private sector, forcing teenagers to compete with adults for jobs.

The state eliminated funding for a summer jobs program due to budget woes, the Globe reports. The city of Boston appropriated $3.5 million from its budget for the program, down from $6.2 million last year. The newspaper notes that the lack of sufficient funding ends a summer cleanup program that pays teenagers $7 per hour.

"The cleanup corps is too expensive for us to have this year," Tim McCarthy, executive director of the Boston Youth Fund, tells the Globe. "We just don't have the money for it. We've decided to put the money we have into placing students at community-based organizations that run summer camps. So many younger kids depend on those inexpensive day-care providers that it seemed disastrous to end funding for those programs."

The newspaper reports the cuts mean that about 12 percent of the potential teenage workforce, as few as 3,698 teenagers, will be guaranteed jobs this summer, compared with over 30 percent, or 11,101 teenagers, in 2000.

In the private sector, some larger companies have said they would maintain levels of hiring of teenagers, but other employers are not hiring.

"Big employers are coming back and making a commitment," says Neil Sullivan, executive director of the Boston Private Industry Council. "But the youth employment market could not be worse. For adults, this is a recession. For youth, this is a depression. We are seeing it when we go to the traditional youth employment venues such as retail. They are down and the small- and midsize companies aren't hiring. We're also seeing many adults take jobs that were done by teenagers."


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