Rush Introduces Legislation to Invest $100 Billion in Nation’s Youth Workforce

Dec 3, 2020
Press Release

Today, Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) announced the introduction of the Jobs Now Youth Employment Act (H.R. 8839), which would require the Department of Labor to make increased funds available for youth workforce investment activities in areas experiencing especially high rates of long-term unemployment. These activities would include conducting research related to meeting the education and employment needs of eligible youth, as well as the supporting of career services and financial literacy programs for young people from struggling and often overlooked communities.

“Even before the current pandemic, we have known that the pandemic of unemployment has had an outsized impact on marginalized and other underserved communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to worsen this crisis and increase the injustice and inequities being suffered by the most vulnerable members of our society,” said. Rep. Rush. “In particular, America’s youth is often overlooked when we consider solutions for increasing employment and many of our young people, out of sheer desperation, turn to less legitimate measures in order to provide for themselves and their families. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and I have long held that lack of access to resources is one of the key factors in determining whether otherwise upright citizens may turn towards a life of malfeasance and misdoing.

“I am confident that if we provide those living in poverty, particularly the younger members of our society, with the resources they need to adequately enter the workforce, as well as the financial literacy tools they require to create and maintain wealth, the benefits to our society at large will be abundant. That is exactly why I have introduced the Jobs Now Youth Employment act, which will provide our young people with essential resources to enter the workforce and escape the cycle of poverty.”

The Jobs Now Youth Employment Act directs the Secretary of Labor to make financial resources available to local areas based on the relative number of long-term unemployed individuals in each local area, compared to the total number of long-term unemployed individuals in all local areas, for the purposes of investing in youth workforce investment activities. These activities include:

  • Conducting research related to meeting the education and employment needs of eligible youth;
  • Supporting the development of alternative evidence-based programs that enhance the choices available to eligible youth;
  • Supporting career services;
  • Supporting financial literacy; and
  • Providing technical assistance to eligible entities working to support youth workforce investment.

The Jobs Now Youth Employment Act authorizes $10 billion dollars each year, over the course of the first ten years of the bill’s enactment, to be appropriated for youth investment activities.