Federal Policy Agenda
Even as job growth continues and unemployment rates decline, 5.3 million young Americans remain disconnected from school and work. Disconnected from school and work, “opportunity youth” struggle to support themselves or their families. They also impose significant economic burdens on taxpayers through the costs of support services and forgone tax revenues. The good news is, we know what to do. With access to high quality pathways to education and careers, opportunity youth can achieve stability, earn professional credentials, and become productive citizens: The employees, entrepreneurs, and leaders who will propel our economy in the years and decades to come. All we need is the will to make this happen.
- Building on effective, evidence-based work through existing federal programs, we can reconnect 1 million young people per year. For almost four decades, the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) and its members have documented best practices in connecting young people with employment. We understand what works, and we believe that our nation now has an historic opportunity to create a win-win for employers and young adults by building career pathways and talent pipelines that prepare and connect younger workers to employers with high-demand jobs that can support them and their families.
Three coordinated actions will put opportunity youth to work over the long term:
a. Juvenile-justice reform, starting with JJDPA reauthorization;
b. Comprehensive immigration reform; and
c. Strengthened and stabilized entitlement programs, including SCHIP and Medicaid.