Obama, Wharton focus on summer jobs for teens - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Obama, Wharton focus on summer jobs for teens

(WMC-TV) – Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is dedicated to keeping the city's teens busy this summer. 

Mayor Wharton and other city leaders listened in Thursday on a phone call with President Barack Obama about summer jobs and how to bring more to the Bluff City. 

Mayor Wharton not only heard from President Obama but also from the mayors of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Avondale, Arizona, and Cincinnati, Ohio about how to encourage more summer jobs for teens.

The call with President Barack Obama lasted about a half-hour. Mayor Wharton and others listened intently to what the President had to say.

"Nobody is struggling more than our young people when it comes to employment," said President Obama.

The president said that struggle is due in part to skills and education issues. Also, he said it has to do with opportunities out there for teens.

The president said the workplace is first window of opportunity for many, and that when teens go to work early they usually stay there.

"These early experiences these young people have may end up shaping the trajectory of their lives for a long time to come," said Obama.

Mayor Wharton said summer is only six weeks away and the time to act is now.

"What we're working on and what we're submitting to the President is that for these employers who cannot bring in 10 young folks to work for liability reasons, that does not let them off the hook," said Wharton.

Wharton said he and other city leaders will be going out asking for additional funds from Memphis based companies.

Instead of giving teens jobs, those funds will be used to help occupy and educate Memphis teens throughout the summer months. 

Mayor Wharton cited examples like Valero's support of the Gun Down plan and Cigna's support of a summer lunch program. 

The president told Mayor Wharton and others that the federal government is ready and willing to send Cabinet secretaries to areas who show initiative when it comes to creating additional summer employment for teens.

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