This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
The United States has lost almost seven million jobs since the recession began in December of two thousand seven. The good news: the central bank says economic activity appears to be "leveling out."
The bad news: no one knows when the job market will recover. These days, if a job is available, young people often have to compete with more experienced workers. The situation is worst for those with the least education.
About thirty percent of workers age sixteen to twenty-four with less than a high school diploma were unemployed in July. That was more than three times the national unemployment rate.
The Labor Department says even among high school graduates, twenty-one percent of those with no college were jobless. The federal stimulus spending includes money to pay for jobs for needy young people.
One such program in the state of New Jersey gave some young people their first experience with the world of work. Counselors at the One-Stop Career Center in Hackensack found jobs for a few hundred young people this summer. The jobs were twenty hours a week through August.
The pay was seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour -- the federal minimum wage. Those chosen came from poor families and also faced at least one barrier to getting a job. For example, they had left school or had been in trouble with the law.
Sixteen-year-old Nahdir Gonzalez left school last year. He said he wanted a job because he did not want to get in trouble. He wants to stay on the right path so he can be successful in life.
The director of the program is Salvatore Mastroeni, a former principal of a high school. He said after the students leave the program they can begin a GED program. Many colleges and employers will accept what is known as a GED as the equivalent of a high school diploma.
Salvatore Mastroeni often drives from Hackensack to nearby Englewood. There, he has placed young workers in the recreation department and other local government jobs.
Twenty-year-old Desirae Somerville worked in a school office and also helped out at the recreation center. She said she is working with children to paint and fix classrooms.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. You can find other reports at our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.