Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Help Youth Prepare for the Workforce
Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and David Perdue (R-GA) formally introduced — along with Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — The Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2019 (S. 3144) on December 20th, 2019 in the U.S. Senate. The legislation will support out-of-school time programs that build knowledge, skills, and learning experiences that will help youth prepare for the 21st century workforce and boost their economic potential over a lifetime. The new bill will fill a gap that exists in policy today, supporting skill building programs in early childhood development through job placement.
U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) U.S. Senate Photographic Studio [Public domain]
Supporting Youth Success
“I hear from young people about their hopes for the future, which include contributing to their communities and getting good jobs. And I hear from employers that they need help getting connected to great employees. That’s where afterschool and out-of-school time providers can play a role in helping young people gain skills and make connections to mentors, opportunities and local employers,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “Our bipartisan bill would help support youth success for years to come by exposing young people to the varied ways they can participate in the workforce.”
4.5 Million Young People Not in School and Not Working
A great future does not happen if young people cannot get a job, and today, youth face many challenges around planning for and entering their future careers. There are 4.5 million young people who aren’t in school and don’t have a job. Young people increasingly feel ill prepared for work, lacking the necessary skills and confidence to prosper on the job. In fact, more than 75% of youth express concerns about whether they have the skills necessary to secure a job. Essential skill development such as communication and critical thinking skills, and exposure to different careers are critical to being successful in the workforce of today and tomorrow. By expanding the reach and scope of youth development programs that already are helping more than 10 million school-age children and teens, programs can support and build a diverse and skilled workforce that is ready to contribute and strengthen the country’s economy.
Senator David Perdue of Georgia U.S. Senate Photographic Studio-Rebecca Hammel [Public domain]
Out-of-School Programs Focused on Preparing Youth to Pursue Careers of their Choice
“Currently, there are 7.3 million job openings and only 5.8 million people looking for work,” said David Senator Perdue. “It is important that we invest in the future of America’s workforce by giving children the skills they need to succeed. This bipartisan effort with the Boys & Girls Club and other youth organizations will support the development of out-of-school programs that are focused on preparing our youth to pursue the career of their choice. I’m proud Boys & Girls Clubs of America calls Georgia home, and I share their commitment to helping kids and teens reach their full potential.”