Teens push for youth jobs in State House rally

State House News Service
Apr. 26, 2012

A planned rally outside the House chamber for youth jobs funding turned into a lecture on how to lobby lawmakers. Fifty teens from Boston, Chelsea, Somerville, Lynn and Lowell gathered on Wednesday to press lawmakers into supporting amendments upping funds for youth jobs programs. The proposed House budget includes $6.9 million, down from $9 million spent last year, for the YouthWorks program, which funds nonprofit and government jobs for youth.

Rep. Carlos Henriquez, a Dorchester Democrat, told the teens to lobby lawmakers, pointing to the pods of professional lobbyists milling outside the House chamber. “They’re doing the same thing you’re doing,” Henriquez said. “We’re probably going to be here until midnight,” said Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain).

After pointers from Henriquez and other lawmakers, the teens surged toward the ropeline outside the House chamber, and started to chant, “What do we want?” “Youth jobs!” Organizers had predicted 150 people would attend the rally but the crowd was much smaller.