Senator Manchin Letter Concerning Reconciliation Legislation

The Reconnecting Youth Campaign is urging Senator Manchin to move forward with reconciliation legislation that will provide critical supports to Opportunity Youth. Sign on here.


July 1, 2022

The Honorable Joe Manchin 

U.S. Senator

306 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Manchin:

Young adults, people with criminal records, and the long-term unemployed all want to help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure and transform our energy sector. Reconciliation legislation is needed: Your voice is key to getting it done. As a group of organizations representing opportunity youth – young adults who are out of school and out of work – we call on you to support reconciliation legislation that would lift young West Virginians out of poverty while supercharging the state’s energy sector.

As you well know, economic recovery has come slowly to West Virginia. West Virginia’s nonfarm employment growth of 1.7 percent ranks 49th among the States. One in seven young adults (27,500) in West Virginia remain disconnected from school and work. And West Virginia is still down 24,300 jobs from its pre-pandemic level, according to WorkForce West Virginia and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics establishment survey

Congress’s passage of the American Recovery Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) are positive steps that put funds in the hands of state and local governments to tackle major challenges as they see fit. IIJA provides a framework for addressing the most acute symptoms of our infrastructure and climate crises, but it contains little dedicated funding to support a green-economy workforce that includes youth and people with barriers to employment and proven workforce strategies to support connections to work. 

That’s why your support for reconciliation legislation is needed to finish the job. It must include robust funding for workforce development and a Civilian Climate Corps (CCC), as proposed in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

Using reconciliation legislation to create high-quality jobs are very popular ideas, both nationally and in West Virginia. The more funding for these efforts, the more West Virginians will rejoin the workforce, or enter it for the first time. 

Each day of delay has a cost for young people: Spells of unemployment in early adulthood are tied to reduced earnings 10 years later. Young people are watching. We urge you to watch Young People Address the Nation, a response by young leaders to President Biden’s State of the Union Address. 

Nothing says more about a nation than how it treats its young people and people who are sitting on the sidelines of our economy. We hope you will help get legislation to accomplish this across the finish line. 

We stand ready to support this effort and are happy to continue to work alongside you. 


Center for Law and Social Policy

Forum for Youth Investment

National Youth Employment Coalition

YouthBuild USA

Youth Jobs Connect

OIC of America


Forum for Youth Investment

Safer Foundation


Kilele Foundation Kenya

Reconnecting Youth / Opportunity Youth


Youth Jobs Connect


Center for Employment Opportunities

The Corps Network

Office of Economic & Workforce Development

New Door Ventures

Career Planning & Resume Services

Opportunity Youth Advocacy Community – April 2022 Monthly Meeting Summary

National Opportunity Youth Organizations & Young People Respond to President Biden’s State of the Union Address: Our Hand Is Still Outstretched in Partnership

Two young people of color masked together, outside, in a city. We need employment opportunities for all young people.

Young Leaders to Congress: We Can’t Build Back Better if We Cut Youth Out

“Leaving young people out of the recovery packages will have significant economic consequences on our future work lives.”

Kalef Jones

Kalef Jones on Leading by Example

“Anyone can speak on all the things that are wrong in our communities, but it takes a certain individual to seek a position where they can change the way things are and make things better for the youth to flourish and thrive.”

Jasmin Angeles

Jasmin Angeles on being a Role Model

“I want to be someone who makes a difference for the younger generation, and who stands for what is true and right. I want to help others understand that when an opportunity comes their way, it’s important to improve themselves and take it.”

Angela Noah

Angela Noah on Building her Legacy

“My legacy will be to help these people, to inspire, to give hope. I want to ensure that every Native American youth acknowledges their own potential and understands that there are infinite possibilities.”

Abdusalam Ibrahim

Abdusalam on Finding Strength

“Abdusalam continues to be the first to serve, the most eager to learn, and the most committed to putting his talents and training to work for the greater good.”

Paola Flores

Paola Flores on Overcoming Obstacles

“Paola has been a positive influence in so many ways to her peers in encouraging them to continue in life no matter the obstacles. She shares with them that she herself has faced many obstacles but continues to work towards success every day.”

Michael Hendricks

Michael Hendricks on a Clearer Future

“I was taught hard skills that were needed to succeed. Today I am comfortable and confident in my forest work…I can definitely see a clearer future for myself.”