Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said youth unemployment is a “national tragedy,” and “It is beyond comprehension that we, as a nation, have not focused attention on the fact that millions of young people are unable to find work and begin their careers in a productive economy.”
According to The Hill, Sanders invoked an Economic Policy Institute study which claims “the real unemployment rate for black high school graduates, ages 17 to 20, was more than 51 percent during the 12 months ending in March. The jobless rate for Hispanics in that age group was just under 34 percent.”
“The answer to unemployment and poverty is not and cannot be the mass incarceration of young African Americans,” said Sanders, also pointing out the high incarceration rates for the demographic.
The ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee is focusing his presidential campaign on the struggling middle class and sky-rocketing costs for college students, among other issues.
Last week, Sanders introduced a bill with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) that would provide $5.5 billion to state and local governments to employ 1 million young people between the ages of 16 and 24.