Reps. García and Kaptur Introduce Legislation to Promote Economic Justice and Youth Employment

May 14, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), and 12 colleagues introduced the Connecting Youth to Jobs Act, which creates living-wage employment opportunities for young people facing barriers to employment and historically disadvantaged youth.

The bill also offers $10 billion in grants for community organizations, labor unions, tribal organizations and other nonprofits, and partnerships to provide direct financial assistance for support services that help youth overcome barriers to sustained employment. These support services may include housing, health care, transportation, child care, access to technology, and more.

“For as long as I’ve been involved in community development, we have been fighting to end decades of disinvestment from our neighborhoods and to create better opportunities for youth. The Connecting Youth to Jobs Act creates urgently needed good paying job opportunities for young people, in Chicago and across the United States. Our bill also recognizes that holding a job doesn’t just mean finding a job, it also means having the supportive services to sustain it, like child care and transportation,” said Rep. García. “We must reinvest in youth employment to promote economic justice and give young people the resources they need to thrive.”

“Young Americans are among the workers hardest hit by the current COVID induced recession,” said Rep. Kaptur.“For young Black and Latino workers, this reality is even worse. Not only have young people lost the opportunity to celebrate some of their greatest achievements — graduations, senior proms, and significant birthdays — they lost jobs and career starting employment opportunities. The inability to find a job today has lifelong impacts on mental and financial health for both individuals and society. It is why Congress must act and invest in the workforce of today and tomorrow. Young Americans deserve bold ideas to train, connect, and prepare them for the workforce, and the Connecting Youth to Jobs Act we proposed today will prioritize these needs.”

NYEC/The National Youth Employment Coalition said, “What Congress does in the coming weeks can determine the course of the economic recovery. I applaud Congressman Garcia for proposing a comprehensive solution to address the youth employment crisis.”

“The public health and economic crises have only exacerbated pre-existing inequities and without targeted interventions for young people, our country will not recover equitably. The Connecting Youth to Jobs Act is a bold and necessary bill that would ensure young people, particularly those who have been historically excluded from economic opportunity, such as Black, Indigenous, and other youth of color, as well as young people impacted by the criminal legal system, are able to access quality employment opportunities through subsidized employment. Ensuring this legislation and young people are prioritized in the American Jobs Plan would begin to redress some of our nation’s deep seated inequities and help our nation build back better,” said Olivia Golden, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

“Building back a better, stronger economy in the aftermath of COVID-19 requires policy solutions anchored in economic justice. The COVID-19 recession threatens to leave behind yet another generation of Black and Brown young people. We must meet this moment with bold, transformative, and equitable jobs policies like the Connecting Youth to Jobs Act. A subsidized employment program that prioritizes youth and young adults who have been systematically excluded from economic opportunity will move us closer towards racial and economic justice and benefit our nation as a whole,” said Caitlin C. Schnur, Senior Policy Associate, Heartland Alliance Research & Policy.

The Connecting Youth to Jobs Act is endorsed by the following organizations: A Safe Haven, Alliance for Strong Families & Communities and Council on Accreditation, Alternative Schools Network, Amity Foundation, Association House of Chicago, BUILD Chicago, Center for Employment Opportunities, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Central States SER - Jobs for Progress, Inc. & SERCO, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Jobs Council, Corazon Community Services, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Enlace Chicago, Forum for Youth Investment, Heartland Alliance, HIRE360, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association, Increase the Peace, Instituto de Progreso Latino, Jobs For the Future (JFF), Juvenile Law Center , Metropolitan Family Services, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Juvenile Defender Center, National Network for Youth, Inc., National Runaway Safeline, National Safe Place Network, National Skills Coalition, National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC), New Ways to Work, Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps, Reach Out, Safer Foundation, School House Connection, The Alliance98, The Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation, The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, The Night Ministry, Young Invincibles, Youth Crossroads Inc., Youth Job Center, and Youth Jobs Connect. 

A fact sheet about the bill can be found here.

The text of the bill can be found here.