By Erik Wasson - 01/05/12 05:00 AM EST
President Obama on Thursday will unveil a summer-jobs initiative that the White House says is already on track to create 180,000 “work opportunities” in the private sector in 2012.
That is the number of opportunities, which includes mentoring and unpaid internships, that companies have told the administration they are willing to create. Some 70,000 jobs are paid, the White House says.
“Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congress to act,” a White House statement reads.
In 60 days, the administration plans to create a jobs bank in order to facilitate more hiring of youth for summer jobs.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the “opportunities” are all new and were not jobs that would have existed anyway.
“The president has been clear that where there is gridlock with this Congress, he will act,” she said. She noted that the unemployment level among those aged 16 to 24 is 16 percent, far higher than the 10.7 percent in 2007 before the recession began.