Scott, Committee Democrats Introduce Bill to Strengthen Opportunity for Disconnected Youth
WASHINGTON – TODAY, Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) introduced H.R. 1748, the Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2017—legislation to address the challenges facing youth who are disconnected from both school and work. Disconnected young people are commonly referred to as “opportunity youth” because of the tremendous potential they possess. At a panel discussion, Reps. Scott, Susan Davis (CA-53) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), and Matt Zone, National League of Cities President, highlighted the need for programs that support opportunities for youth.
“Youth disconnection is an issue in communities all across the country and for all sorts of young people,” said Rep. Bobby Scott. “The reasons behind disconnection differ from place to place and young person to young person, but we do know one thing: federal investments make a difference. Investing in young people makes a difference. That is why I am introducing the Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2017. This legislation will put young people to work and support community efforts to keep youth connected to school and training.”
“I’m proud to join this effort to engage young people who are too often disconnected from school and work," stated Rep. Davis. “There is an immense return for every dollar that we invest in our young people. The Opening Doors for Youth Act would establish resources for communities to connect with the most vulnerable young people, and ensure that they have an accessible pathway into our workforce.”
“Nearly 5 million young people between ages 16-24 are out of school and out of work,” said Rep. Espaillat. “This is a critical time in their lives, and most lack the path to entry-level jobs that keep them connected to school or involved in the workforce. I was once myself a disconnected youth and understand firsthand the value that efforts such as the Opening Doors for Youth Act can have on a young person's life, their future and their opportunities for success.”
“On behalf of the nation’s cities, I’m proud to support Congressman Scott’s Opening Doors for Youth Act,” said National League of Cities President Matt Zone, councilmember, Cleveland. “Every day, cities increase opportunities and experience for youth through summer jobs and employment opportunities. This act helps build federal-local partnerships that can expand the work cities are doing to improve economic outcomes for the next generation of our nation’s workforce.”
There is a strong need for federal investments in community efforts to increase employment opportunities for disconnected – or “opportunity” – youth. Nearly 5 million young people ages 16 to 24 are out of school and work. Disconnection from school and work at the ages of 16-24 can leave youth without the entry-level work experience and post-secondary credentials needed to successfully transition into the labor market, at a great cost to the individual youth, local communities, and our nation.
The Opening Doors for Youth Act will expand opportunities for our nation’s at-risk and opportunity youth by:
- Authorizing $1.5 billion in formula grants for subsidized summer jobs for in- and out-of-school youth ages 14 to 24. This program will help in-school youth remain connected to the education system and avoid involvement in the criminal and juvenile justice system.
- Authorizing $2 billion in formula grants for partially subsidized year-round jobs for youth ages 16 to 24 who are out of school and work. This program provides opportunity youth with the extended entry-level work experiences and work-readiness skills that are vital to improved employment outcomes.
- Authorizing $2 billion in competitive grants to transform communities with high rates of youth disconnection into communities of opportunity. Local community partnerships will use funds to establish or expand community-based systems that provide at-risk and opportunity youth with comprehensive pathways to remain connected or reconnect to education and training systems, as well as the supportive services needed to overcome individual barriers to reconnection.
CLASP, Forum for Youth Investment, Heartland Alliance, Jobs for the Future, National Association of Workforce Boards, National League of Cities, National Skills Coalition, National Summer Learning Association, National Youth Employment Coalition, Opportunity Nation, Opportunity Youth Network, Opportunity Youth United, SPARK, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Young Invincibles, and YouthBuild USA
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