As Massachusetts looks to attract more business and continue engaging the global marketplace, our greatest competitive advantage is an educated workforce equipped with 21st-century skills. But two key roadblocks in building that work force are the lack of jobs for young people, and the gap of caring, adult mentors who can provide the guidance, support, and knowledge needed to excel. Teen employment has fallen dramatically since the beginning of the decade, hitting a 45-year low this year, and many training programs have been scaled back. These trends must be reversed if we want our work force to be competitive.
As the weather starts to warm, summer jobs initiatives are gearing up around Massachusetts. These opportunities can provide important skills needed to prepare for college and the workforce. Through groups like the Private Industry Council and Mayor Menino’s jobs program, and the efforts of several local businesses, our community has come together to make an difference. But this is only part of the solution.