NYEC Member Spotlight: Breaktime Secures Historic $40M Investment for Opportunity Youth



On Tuesday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives allocated $40 million in ARPA funds for the state’s youth employment program, YouthWorks. This is an historic, record-breaking allocation of funds toward employment programs for at-risk youth, and two MA nonprofits, Breaktime and I Have A Future, led a coalition of 15 organizations in achieving this milestone.

Boston, October 27, 2021 — On October 25th, the House Ways and Means Committee and other House leaders released a $3.65 billion plan for spending a majority of the state’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fiscal recovery funding. In this bill, the House allocated $40 million of ARPA funds for the YouthWorks line item to support employment programs for at-risk youth. Breaktime, a Boston-based nonprofit working to end young adult homelessness statewide, and I Have A Future, a statewide community of youth organizers, led efforts to secure this funding over the last five months. “We are so grateful to the House for prioritizing young adults with barriers to employment in their COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Breaktime’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Connor Schoen. “The need for this investment is unequivocal: the COVID-19 pandemic has displaced tens of thousands of young adults statewide from work and school, and many of these individuals–most of whom
are BIPOC and LGBTQ+–are experiencing housing insecurity because of this.” Breaktime and I Have A Future mobilized the support of 13 other MA nonprofits in this effort. Deborah Silva, the Executive Director of Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, said “By investing in employment opportunities for young Bostonians, we can provide pathways toward stability and disrupt the cycles of upheaval that prevent youth from achieving their full potential.”

What Comes Next?

Representative Nika Elugardo in the House has filed Amendments 313 and 314 to provide further support for young adults experiencing barriers to employment opportunities, particularly LGBTQ+ and BIPOC young adults. “Now more than ever, it is paramount that we take a stand announcing the importance of this funding for year long jobs for young adults,” says Schoen. The House plans to debate this matter on Thursday afternoon. The Senate is expected to take up the bill shortly thereafter. For those interested in supporting this work, Breaktime and I Have A Future have released a call to action, and interested partners and advocates can contact Breaktime’s Policy Director, Michael Galvan, at michael@breaktime.org for more information.