Mayors' Workforce Directors Meet to Address Concerns on Youth Employment, Education and Training
By Shannon Holmes
July 12, 2004
Mayor's workforce directors from cities across the country gathered in Boston for The United States Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council (WDC) Board meeting held in conjunction with the 72nd Annual Conference of Mayors.
Jackie Edens, President of the WDC welcomed board of trustees and council members from cities across the country including Arlington (TX), Baltimore, Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Columbus (GA), Detroit, El Paso, Gary, Hammond (IN), Hartford, Hawthorne (CA), Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, South Bend (IN) St. Louis and Ypsilanti (MI).
Over three full days, WDC addressed issues around the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act and the budget for fiscal year 2005 and 2006. Rockford Mayor Douglas P. Scott, Chair of the Mayors Standing Committee on Workforce Development, met with WDC to brief them about the meeting he had with Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Emily DeRocco to address concerns about the Administration's proposed changes to regulations governing the workforce development system.
Connecting Education and Training
Connecting workforce development and education, Susan Sclafani, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education and Michael Schmidt, Contributions Director of Education, and Cheryl Carrier, Program Manager for the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, of the Ford Motor Company Fund presented to WDC members ways in which education closely relates to training and retraining of the American workforce. Sclafani also stressed the important need for high school reform so that the education system in this country is able to change with the times and be competitive on the ever-changing stage.
Youth Employment Crisis
Related to the need for high school reform, Dr. Andrew Sum, Director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, informed council members that there is a youth employment crisis countrywide. According to his study, employment for youth 18-24 is at 36 percent, the lowest it has been since data collection began 56 years ago. With the economy slowly recovering, jobs that once went to the youth population are now being taken by college students/graduates and immigrants. Sum stressed that this crisis, often brushed aside, needs to be addressed before a point is reached that makes it impossible to recover from.