Advocates Raise Alarm On Youth Unemployment In Cook County Hearing

(CBS) — A Cook County Board hearing is raising is raising the alarm about youth unemployment in the region. Simply put, it’s bad, and getting worse, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

Quiwana Bell of the Westside Health Authority said simply there are not enough jobs for African-American and Latino young people who want and need them.

“Especially for some communities that have upwards of 30 percent of their population are these young people who are doing absolutely nothing and it’s taking a toll on our communities in major ways,” Bell said.

Fr. Michael Pfleger whose St. Sabina Church is in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood said there is a direct line between youth unemployment and crime.

“We can’t keep just telling people our youth don’t sell drugs, put down the guns, be nice people and not offer them anything to pick up or to do with their lives,” Pfleger said.

Karin Norrington-Reeves, CEO, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, answering questions while Commisioner Bridget Gainer looks on. (Credit: Craig Dellimore)

Karin Norrington-Reeves, CEO, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, answering questions while Commisioner Bridget Gainer looks on. (Credit: Craig Dellimore)

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said a solution sounds simple. She said federal dollars allocated to summer youth employment are needed as well as adding to existing funds to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. But gridlock in Washington and Springfield stand in the way.

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