With new unemployment numbers for May showing that the jobless rate for young people remains extremely high, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that he will introduce legislation this week to help young people find work. Sanders will speak tomorrow in Detroit where youth unemployment rates are extremely high.
Sanders and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) are to meet at Wayne County Community College with students and unemployed youth to hear first-hand about their challenges finding jobs in an area that was especially hard hit and is still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s.
"At a time when the youth unemployment rate is over 16 percent, and the teen unemployment rate is over 24 percent, we have got to do everything we can to make sure that young Americans have the jobs they need to pay for a college education and to move up the economic ladder," Sanders said.
Sanders' Youth Jobs Act would provide $3 billion in immediate funding to employ hundreds of thousands of low-income youth and economically disadvantaged young adults in summer and year-round jobs. The measure also would provide young people with the job training and skills they need to succeed in the workforce.
The legislation is modeled on a proposal by President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act that the president proposed to Congress last year. It would also build on the success of an economic stimulus program that Congress passed in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse that created more than 370,000 jobs for young Americans.
Under Sanders' bill, the U.S. Department of Labor would provide $1.5 billion in grants for states to provide summer and year-round employment opportunities for low-income youth. The grants could go to develop summer and year-round employment opportunities for low-income youth. States could use funds to identify employment opportunities in emerging occupations and in the public or nonprofit sector to meet community needs.
Another $1.5 billion in competitive grants would go to states and local communities to provide on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs for low-income youth and disadvantaged young adults. Grant recipients would be encouraged to develop partnerships with employers, community colleges, community organizations and joint labor-management committees.
All states would receive a minimum of $15 million to implement summer and year round job opportunities and job-training programs under this bill. The remainder of the funding would be targeted to areas of high youth unemployment and poverty.