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Tim Kaine introduces bill to help young people find jobs

tim kaineToday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine introduced a bill to assist young people with finding summer or year-long jobs that will help them succeed in future careers.

The Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2018 is focused on the nearly 5 million at-risk young people ages 16 – 24 who are disconnected from both school and work. The bill provides federal funding so local communities can create partnerships with businesses, guaranteeing young people can be placed in a job that is also paired with career training, mentoring, financial literacy planning, and other supportive services. Through these partnerships, workforce boards can use funds to cover up to 75 percent of wages for each eligible young person participating in the program. This bill was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Bobby Scott.

“Young people play a critical role in our economy and we must ensure that they have the resources and skills to find and maintain jobs that set them up for future success,”Kaine said. “With the right resources, city governments, local workforce boards, school districts, and employers can work together to help us close the employment gap we’re seeing for at-risk young people.”   

The Richmond Mayor’s office runs a similar program called The Mayor’s Youth Academy to help young Virginians by pairing high-quality summer employment with job readiness training.

“As a former mayor, Senator Kaine understands the importance local governments play in the everyday lives of Americans,” said Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “The Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2018 will provide much-needed resources that will bolster my administration’s efforts to expand opportunity for young people in Richmond through our job training partnerships and out-of-school programs. A good job builds self-esteem and promotes stability and opportunity for future success. Senator Kaine’s commitment to empowering youth in our communities through this legislation is yet another step in the right direction for our city.” 

Young people who are out of school and work – referred to as disconnected youth – face significant barriers to success and are twice as likely to live below the federal poverty threshold, significantly more likely to live in racially segregated neighborhoods, and are three times more likely than other youth to have a disability. Disconnection can leave young people without the entry-level work experience and post-secondary credentials they need to succeed in the workforce and with significantly less lifetime earnings than the typical worker. In 2013, youth disconnection resulted in $26.8 billion in costs to taxpayers to cover things like health care and incarceration.

The Opening Doors for Youth Act expands employment opportunities for our nation’s at-risk and disconnected youth by:

  • Authorizing grants to help communities create dedicated summer job opportunities targeting in- and out-of-school youth ages 14 to 24 to ensure that young people are connected to meaningful work-based learning.
  • Authorizing grants to help communities promote year-round employment opportunities targeting youth 16 to 24 who are out of school and work to ensure that these young adults are able to gain work experiences and work-readiness skills that are vital to long-term employment outcomes.
  • Ensuring youth employment opportunities are of high quality by requiring programs to include:
    – Work-readiness and educational programs for youth to develop employability skills
    – Coaching and mentoring services for youth, such as resume development and networking
    – Coaching and mentoring services for employers on successfully employing youth in meaningful work experiences
    – Career and college planning services
    – Financial literacy education
    – Supportive services, such as mental health counseling.
  • Establishing a community partnership grant program between local government and workforce boards, school districts, institutions of higher education, and support agencies for areas with high rates of disconnected youth that will provide comprehensive pathways for these young people to remain connected or reconnect to education and training programs as well as supportive services.

Kaine has long been in a leader in Virginia and in the Senate pushing for high-quality career and technical education and apprenticeship programs where students can get on the job training, paired with skills that can prepare them for a future career.

The Opening Doors for Youth Act is supported by CLASP, Forum on Youth Investment, Heartland Alliance, Jobs for the Future, National Association of Workforce Boards,National Job Corps Association, National Skills Coalition, National Summer Learning Association, National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC), Opportunity Nation,Opportunity Youth Network, Opportunity Youth United, SPARK, US Conference of Mayors, Young Invincibles, and YouthBuild.

More information

  • View a fact sheet on the Opening Doors for Youth Act, here.
  • View the bill text of the Opening Doors for Youth Act, here.