Opportunity Youth Advocacy Community – March 2022 Monthly Meeting Summary

Updates from a national coalition of individuals and organizations who come together to build comprehensive support for and investment in pathways for Opportunity Youth – young people ages 16 to 24 who are not in school or the workforce.

If you’re interested in joining this cross-issue coalition of advocates and researchers focused on Opportunity Youth, please sign up here. Advocates of all ages and issue areas are welcome!

In this post (click to jump to a section):

Status Update: Economic Reconciliation & Federal Policies to Invest in Opportunity Youth

In November, the US House of Representatives passed a $1.75 trillion social spending package known as Build Back Better (BBB). It advanced to the Senate, where it has stalled. Passing BBB through the process known as reconciliation requires that all 50 Senate Democrats vote for it. 

At this stage, it is unlikely that BBB will be passed as one bill, however, pieces may pass on their own as individual legislation. The Economic Reconciliation Package formerly known as BBB, still needs an agreement on what the package will look like. This may include areas of priority for the Reconnecting Youth Campaign, including investments in a number of areas ranging from jobs, education, caregiving, healthcare, housing, and climate including key priorities that will be critical to Opportunity Youth populations.

DC State of Play 

Omnibus Spending Bill 

On March 10, the Senate passed an omnibus spending bill for the remainder of FY22. This included modest increases in funding across many priority programs for the Reconnecting Youth Campaign, including increases for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) youth, YouthBuild, Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO), and AmeriCorps State and National Grants. Read more here.

Appropriations & FY23 President’s Budget Request (PBR) 

Each year the President’s budget calls for appropriations including the programs that the Reconnecting Youth Campaign has advocated for since its launch, in the areas of education, employment, training and national service. 

On March 28th, the Biden FY23 Budget was released. This included emphasis on taxing the wealthiest, and a new commitment to deficit reduction. In addition, the budget has increases for defense spending and law enforcement and also elements of the old BBB agenda repacked as inflation fighting policies. 

The budget also calls for appropriations for the programs that RYC has generally been advocating for. It also includes some of the policy investments that were laid out in BBB in an effort to get all 50 Democratic Senators on board for a reconciliation package that can hopefully be passed this year. We expect negotiations to continue after the upcoming congressional recess.

When it comes to the specifics around funding levels, there are similar requests to last year’s funding for programs such as WIOA Title I, YouthBuild, and REO. The budget increases also include: Apprenticeship and a National Youth Employment Program as a potential placeholder  for a subsidized employment program that would’ve come out of BBB. There are some thematic asks that are still unclear when it comes to the budget – the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC), violence prevention, and mental health are spread across different departments and appropriation bills. 

Learn more about the specifics of the President’s FY23 budget here.

Key Links: 


There have been bipartisan conversations on the House side happening for quite a while around WIOA, and it sounds like some of our key asks have still been in play.  Conversations broke down sometime in the last couple weeks, but Chairman Bobby Scott has still been very interested in marking up some kind of WIOA bill. With that, his staff have been working hard to turn bipartisan language into a Democrat led  version.,

On April 5, The House Education and Labor Committee  held a hearing to mark up the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2022, H.R. 7309. A House floor vote may take place in May.

The good news is we’re moving towards an eligibility framework for WIOA that’s more inclusive and will be easier to get more marginalized young people eligible for services in WIOA. 

To read the perspectives of RYC members on the bill, read the statements put out NYEC and CLASP:

To watch Members on the Committee discuss WIOA click here

RYC Policy Agenda

The Reconnecting Youth Campaign recently finalized and shared its policy agenda for 2022. Policy priorities include:

  • Increase federal appropriations for Opportunity Youth programs
  • Pass a recovery package that prioritizes Opportunity Youth
  • Improve federal programs including AmeriCorps and WIOA 
  • Ensure ARPA funds reach Opportunity Youth

Read the full agenda here.

RYC Membership Sign-On

The Reconnecting Youth Campaign is made up of advocates, organizations, and programs committed to supporting Opportunity Youth. We welcome individuals and organizations who want to support our policy agenda to join as Members or Supporters of the campaign.

In order to sign up as an Organizational Member, you must be a member of a national, state, or local organization and have authority to use the organization’s name on sign-on letters, petitions, and/or other materials. If you do not have this authority but would like to
hbe involved, please sign-on as an Individual Member or Individual Supporter.

Learn more and sign on here.


Join the next meeting!

Please complete our feedback form. It will help us shape the next conversation. 

Next conversation is April 25,  2022, same time and place (Register for future monthly stakeholder updates)

Stay in touch!
Jo Ann Paanio: joann@forumfyi.org
Kathy Tran: ktran@clasp.org
Thomas Showalter: thomas.showalter@nyec.org