Jobs and money are two things most in America need more of. Although recent numbers show unemployment rates down, the hood still sees the worst effects of destitute circumstance where crimes of survival rise because folks don’t have money. Adults may have it bad, but when it comes to young people, especially those of color with unfinished educations and little job experience, the statistics are worse. For example, in cities like Chicago, 92% of black teens are unemployed.

Coming to the rescue of the youth are two individuals they are more likely to listen to - rappers Common and Kanye West. According to Poppinlines, Common’s Common Ground Foundation and Kanye’s DONDA House Inc. have partnered with the Chicago Urban League to create 20,000 jobs for young people in their hometown.  

“Obviously, one of the biggest reasons our kids are going through what they’re going through is because of poverty,” said Common during a press conference announcing the effort. “I was doing an event in the neighborhood and there were some kids from Englewood and I said, ‘Man, what do y’all really need? What’s gonna stop this?’ And they were like, ‘We need money. Man, if we could work.’ They want a chance.”

The new youth job initiative works to gain awareness and funding to support its efforts. And this September 20-21, a music festival in Hyde Park will debut as a vehicle to raise funding for work, programs, and plans. “It’s one thing to provide summer jobs for these kids,” said Andrea Zopp, CEO of the Chicago Urban League, “but we’re trying to provide year-round jobs.”