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Employment Opportunities for Youth Are Investments in Our Communities and Our Nation

by Opportunity Nation   •  

“…it is our duty to ensure young people have the opportunity to thrive, not just survive.” — Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)

On March 28, House Education and Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Opening Doors For Youth Act (ODFY) of 2017 at a panel event on Capitol Hill, where he was joined by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY).

Rep. Bobby Scott and Donovan Hicks

Kimberly Pham

This bill will provide Opportunity Youth with summer and year-round employment opportunities and incentivize local community partnerships to improve high school graduation and youth employment rates.

“This bill is seeing us as an investment, not as a liability.” — Kimberly Pham, Opportunity Youth United

According to the ODFY fact sheet, the bill will expand opportunities for Opportunity Youth by putting them to work and supporting community efforts to keep them connected to school and workforce development. It will also help communities develop opportunities for youth to successfully transition from school to work by:

  • Authorizing $1.5 billion in grants for summer jobs for youth in- and out-of-school ages 14-24.
  • Authorizing $2 billion in grants for partially subsidized year-round jobs for youth ages 16-24 who are out of school and work.
  • 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.

“We know every dollar invested […] comes back many times over.” — Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)

As Opportunity Youth are in need of opportunities to reconnect with education and employment, employers are increasingly seeking workers with a specific set of skills to meet the demands of a changing economy. The ODFY Act will provide skills development opportunities and includes many recommendations highlighted in the evidenced based, bipartisan policy plan we released to close the opportunity gap, including improving and expanding school-based Early Warning Systems, providing work-based learning opportunities and offering mentors to at-risk students.

Other speakers at the event were:

  • Thaddeus Ferber, Opportunity Youth Network
  • Donovan Hicks, Opportunity Nation Opportunity Leader
  • Vikki Lassiter, Measure of America
  • Marisa Lee, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
  • Kimberly Pham, Opportunity Youth United
  • Krisha Ross, iFoster
  • Matt Zone, National League of Cities
Opportunity Nation Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national campaign comprised of more than 350 businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits and civic organizations working together to expand economic mobility and close the opportunity gap in America.

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