BOSTON (AP) - Young people from across Massachusetts are planning to converge on the Statehouse to press for more funding for youth summer jobs programs.

The protesters plan to hold a rally at the Old South Church in Boston at 11:30 a.m. Thursday before marching to the Statehouse to press lawmakers to approve up to $24.5 million to support three youth jobs initiatives.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democratic candidate for governor, is scheduled to address the rally.

Activists say the nation's economic slump has hit youth jobs hard. They say the state's teen summer employment rate has fallen from about 54 percent in 1999 to about 27 percent in 2012.

They say getting jobs when they are young is critical to helping teens continue into a lifetime of employment.


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