Young Leaders Tell Congress: America Can’t #BuildBackBetter if We Cut Youth Out
“Leaving young people out of the COVID-19 recovery package will have significant economic consequences on our future work lives.”
October 22, 2021 | On behalf of themselves and their peers, ten young leaders from across the U.S. shared a message to Members of Congress, urging them not to leave young people out of the Build Back Better negotiations. The Reconnecting Youth Campaign and its members support and applaud this action. We must act to ensure that all of our nation’s youth can emerge from this moment in our history into a future with access to opportunity and pathways to thrive.
The message to Congress is clear:
Thank you for your efforts to tackle the complex problems of poverty, climate change and economic inequality. As Congress continues to work towards securing once-in-a-generation spending to address these complex challenges in the Build Back Better Act, Democrats can’t leave youth and younger workers behind.
We, the undersigned young leaders, are voicing our need for robust workforce investments for younger workers, especially out-of-school youth, through youth subsidized employment, including transitional jobs as well as other paid work experiences.
Our ask may not sound radical, but the urgency is no less meaningful. Your commitment to supporting proven interventions for youth and younger workers will make all the difference between greater labor force attachment and pathways to gainful employment or chronic underemployment and unemployment. Simply, leaving young people out of the next recovery package will have significant economic consequences on our future work lives.
We urge you to direct robust spending for youth subsidized employment and other paid work experience models in any economic recovery package moving forward. Can we count on you to support for youth and younger workers?
We will follow-up about your availability to meet and further discuss. Thank you for your attention and support of youth employment in the next economic recovery package.
Aja Ellington, 32 years old, South Bend, IN, National Network for Youth, National Youth Advisory Council + Board of Directors
Dillon Bernard, New York, Content by Us and Youth Action Hour
Emily (EJ) Vélez, 20 years old, Berks County, PA, National Network for Youth, National Youth Advisory Council
Jaime Jimenez, 19, Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) Fellow, Chula Vista, CA
Jaizyha Jones, 19, New York, Youth Justice Fellow, Forum for Youth Investment
Jemely Reyes, 19, New York, NY, unemployed, NYEC
Marlen J. Mendoza, Iowa City, Iowa, The Forum for Youth Investment
Mya Mateo, 19, New York, NY, self-employed, NYEC
Shaquana Boykin, Opportunity Youth United
Yahanna Mackbee, Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) Fellow, Minneapolis, MN