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WA youth unemployment rate dismal, group says

July 18, 2013 on and King 5 News

by Teresa Yuan

SEATTLE — A recent national report labels the youth unemployment rate in Washington a crisis. This report was compiled by a youth advocacy group out of Washington, D.C. called Young Invincibles.

The group tracks the youth unemployment rate of all 50 states and recently visited Seattle to share the numbers. Group members also search for solutions.

“This recession has impacted everyone. It’s just impacted young adults more. We think the reason is because a number of young adults are disconnected where they’re not in school and they’re not employed,” said Tamika Butler with Young Invincibles.

“I think it’s kind of hard for a young individual to find a steady job. A lot of people don’t want to hire someone without skills or with a background,” said Devonte Robinson, a student with YouthCare’s YouthBuild.

YouthBuild is an intense job training program at South Seattle Community College on the Georgetown campus. Students take part in a six-month training on construction to get certified and eventually graduate and find work.

But this group that helps young adults is in jeopardy. YouthBuild did not receive grant money due to the sequester.

“We’ve had a YouthBuild program in the Seattle King County area since 1994. This will be the first time in all those years there will not be a YouthBuild program and I think that’s a real tragedy,” said Melinda Giovengo with YouthBuild. “YouthBuild reaches the hardest-to-serve young people.”

In the meantime, YouthCare has approached the city and county for help. If the money doesn’t come through, Giovengo says layoffs start in October and there will be no more construction training — at least until they can re-apply for a federal grant next year and, hopefully, get approved.