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SD Organized Labor: Looking to Help Younger Workers

January 4, 2010

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - While unemployment continues to stay high across the country, there are some groups getting hit harder than others. South Dakota State Federation of Labor President Mark Anderson says younger people are having an especially difficult time.

"Unemployment is at 10 percent, but for young workers, it's probably closer to 20 percent - it might even be more when you get into minority groups. Those are the people that go first - usually the young workers are usually the last ones hired so they're the first ones to go when there are layoffs; when the jobs get cut back, it's tougher for them to get 'em."

Anderson says the AFL-CIO has put out a five-point plan, and a key goal is expanding job numbers in an effort to find work for those younger employees.

"We're certainly working on that. It's part of the AFL-CIO's program to try and target those kinds of workers that have been left behind in the present economy."

Anderson says younger workers face a dim future unless they become more of a focus in workforce development policy.

"Potentially, this could be the first generation that doesn't do as well as their parents. We want to be part of the group of people that heads that off."

The AFL-CIO five-point plan includes extending unemployment benefits, rebuilding the country's infrastructure, increasing aid to state and local governments, and using TARP funds for Main Street investments.

The plan will be presented to Congress early in the 2010 session.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD