Jobs for Young People

July 12, 1961

Report Outline
Changed Outlook for Young Job-Hunters
Job Handicaps of Under-Educated Youths
Programs to Prepare Youths for Work
Special Focus

Changed Outlook for Young Job-Hunters

Kennedy's Recognition of Special Job Problem

President Kennedy has asked Congress to enact legislation authorizing the Executive Branch to launch a three-part program to provide on-the-job training for young people, aged 16–22, in private companies, public agencies, or a special conservation corps. The proposal constitutes part of an over-all plan to cultivate higher levels of skill and competence in the nation's labor force as one means of promoting economic growth. New programs for youth have been deemed necessary because (1) the number of young people entering the labor force in the years immediately ahead will substantially increase; (2) many of the new entrants will be poorly prepared to fill job openings that are in greatest abundance; and (3) many of the job applicants will not have had opportunity to acquire skills now in demand unless special steps are taken to that end.

It is hoped that the administration's plan, if put into effect, will help to relieve the serious situation created by swelling of the ranks of young misfits in the poorer sections of big cities. These are the under-educated, often socially maladjusted young people from underprivileged homes who have little to offer a prospective employer. They are the ones most likely to become chronic lawbreakers, derelicts, heads of families on relief, or marginal workers. Growth in the number of youths of this stamp, for whom steady employment is not now in prospect, has been described by James E. Conant, president emeritus of Harvard University, as “social dynamite, …a serious threat to our free society.”

American youths entering the job market during the 1940s and early 1950s had a relatively easy time finding work. The great economic expansion of the war and postwar years provided ample employment opportunities except in brief periods of recession. Competition for jobs was reduced by manpower demands of the military services and by opening of educational opportunities to veterans under the G.I. bills.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Youths and Work
Oct. 14, 2016  Apprenticeships
Mar. 14, 2014  Youth Unemployment
Jan. 27, 2012  Youth Volunteerism
Oct. 23, 1992  Youth Apprenticeships
Aug. 31, 1990  Teens Work to Balance School & Jobs
Jul. 12, 1961  Jobs for Young People
May 10, 1950  Employment of Young People
Dec. 23, 1940  Revival of Apprenticeship
Jan. 17, 1940  Work Programs for Young People
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Vocational and Adult Education