First lady Laura Bush said on Tuesday that young people are more likely to get jobs if they avoid tattoos, as well as drugs and alcohol.
“We know that people who do avoid drugs and alcohol are more likely to be able to get a job,” she said in an interview with American Urban Radio Network.
“We want young people to avoid gangs. And we know that if they’re not tattooed with gang tattoos, they’re more likely to be employable,” Bush said.
Bush has been active in youth issues and promotes helping young people overcome disadvantaged environments to get an education and jobs.
“Well, if you’re tattooed on your face or your arms … where people can see it … most employers probably would not hire you,” Bush said, according to a transcript released by the White House.
She cited a program in Los Angeles aimed at stopping gang violence, Homeboy Industries, where she met young people who had dealt drugs, been in prison, were tattooed on their foreheads and on their necks, and trying to turn their lives around.
Father Gregory Boyle who runs the program has two laser machines and doctors give their time without charge to remove tattoos, she said in another interview with USA Radio Network.
“So that after people have worked at Homeboy Industries they can go out and find a job with a silk-screening business, with a graphic business, with restaurants, with bakeries,” Bush said.