Despite sustained high unemployment, more than two-thirds of employers report difficulties filling job vacancies because applicants lack critical skills and experience.  Some innovative companies have developed strategies to help close the skills gap and build a talent pipeline to fulfill their needs and strengthen the American economy.  For several years, Corporate Voices for Working Families (Corporate Voices) has been at the forefront of this work, collaborating with companies to help them meet their talent development goals by developing enterprising employment pathway opportunities for untapped talent – a population of 6 million young adults’ ages 16-24 not connected to school or work.

Last week, at Corporate Voices’ Annual Meeting, we celebrated the commitments of 18 of our partner companies through Summer Jobs Plus.  President Obama joined with the White House Council for Community Solutions and his Department of Labor to launch the Summer Jobs Plus initiative earlier this year, and he challenged employers to commit to provide some kind of pathway to employment for these young adults in summer 2012 and beyond.

Our partners join a total of 95 organizations and companies who have responded to Presidential challenge.  The White House recently announced the commitments of 110,000 new summer jobs for a total of nearly 300,000 employment opportunities.  These opportunities include 90,000 paid jobs and thousands of mentorships, internships and other training opportunities.

We believe there is an opportunity now to ensure that these commitments are just the beginning of a transformation in the relationship between employers and “disconnected” young adults.   While 300,000 employment opportunities is a good start, we need far more employers to provide a range of opportunities including internships, job shadowing, mentoring, summer and year round employment so that young adults develop the skills and have the experiences necessary to prepare them for career path employment and business’ meet their talent development goals.

For more information on how your company can make a commitment through Summer Jobs Plus, learn more about employment pathways, and join the stellar group of companies, please contact Elyse Rosenblum at or visit

Corporate Voices’ Summer Jobs Plus Partner Commitments:

  • Baxter International Inc.
  • Bank of America
  • Bright Horizons Family Solutions
  • CVS Caremark
  • Deloitte
  • Expeditors
  • Gap Inc.
  • Goodwill Industries International
  • H-E-B Grocery Company
  • Innovate+Educate/New Options NewMexico
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Pacific Gas & Electric
  • Southwire Company
  • Options Baltimore
  • Year Up