Scott Introduces Bill to Strengthen Opportunity for At-Risk Youth
WASHINGTON – TODAY, Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) introduced H.R. 6117, the Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2016—legislation to address the challenges faced by youth, ages 16-24, who are disconnected from both school and work. At-risk young people are commonly referred to as “opportunity youth” because of the tremendous potential they possess.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that all of nation’s young people have the opportunity to thrive—not just survive,” said Ranking Member Scott. “Opportunity youth come from disconnected communities, marked by poverty, racial segregation, high adult unemployment, and low adult educational attainment. Their communities often lack strong school systems, afterschool programs, access to professional networks, and an adequate supply of entry-level jobs for youth. As a result, far too many young people disconnect from school and work. This disconnection leaves them without the solid foundation of education, early work experience, and the skills they need to get on the path toward a good job. The Opening Doors for Youth Act will put young people to work and support community efforts to keep youth connected to school and training.”
An estimated 5.25 million young people, ages of 16-24, are disconnected from both school and work. Disconnection during ages 16-24 can leave young people without the entry-level work experience and post-secondary credentials they need to succeed in the workforce. Disconnection also imposes significant costs on affected young people, their communities and the overall economy.
The Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2016 will help at-risk and opportunity youth with employment opportunities and develop opportunities for youth to successfully transition from school to work by:
- Helping in-school youth remain connected to the education system and avoid involvement in the criminal and juvenile justice system.
- Providing opportunity youth with the extended entry-level work experiences and work-readiness skills that are vital to improved employment outcomes.
- Establishing or expanding community-based systems that provide at-risk and opportunity youth with comprehensive pathways to remain connected or reconnect to education and training systems, as well as the supportive services needed to overcome individual barriers to reconnection.
List of organizations supporting the Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2016:
America Forward, Aspen Institute, Center for Law and Social Policy, Heartland Alliance, National Youth Employment Coalition, National Skills Coalition, National Summer Learning Association, National League of Cities, Opportunity Nation, SPARK, Young Invincibles
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