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Discovery, Viacom, CenturyLink Commit to Creating Opportunities for Low-Income Youth

Discovery, Viacom and CenturyLink are among the companies that have announced commitments to help the White House create more summer jobs, job-shadowing and mentoring opportunities for low-income youth.

The White House is announcing Thursday a new Summer Jobs + initiative that will include an online job bank component developed with the help of Google, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that there were already commitments for 180,000 employment opportunities, with a goal of 250,000 by summer. She pointed out that that unemployment rate for youth 16-24 is 15%, better than it has been but still too high. For African Americans and Latinos, those percentages are 31% and 20%, respectively, she said.  

CenturyLink committed to 50 summer jobs this year; Viacom said it would provide 10 recent college grads with a 10-week paid training program, 30 more students with paid internships, in addition to its ongoing mentoring initiatives. Discovery said it would provide nearly 300 college students with career opportunities in 2012 via internship programs, in addition to its ongoing Discover YourSkills campaign that already provides summer job opportunities.

"Every U.S. company has the ability to support these young people," said Patty Stonesifer, chair of the White House Council for Community Solutions. To that end, the initiative will include a toolkit for employers with tips and case studies, urging them to support opportunities for low-income and "disconnected" youth through mentoring, job-shadowing and internships.

She said that idea is also to reach out beyond the private sector to others, including families, government agencies, nonprofits and the educational community.

There is another media connection to the program beyond the participation of some familiar names, and the online job bank, which relies on broadband deployment and adoption.

America's Promise is partnering on the White House summer jobs effort, including producing a report to be released Thursday in connection with the program announcement. America's Promise is the minority-targeted nonprofit alliance founded by Colin and Alma Powell. Their son, National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell is on the board of the alliance.