Kildee Fights To Empower Disadvantaged Youth Through Education
Congressman Dale E. Kildee (D-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, has introduced H.R.3982, the Reengaging Americans In Serious Education by Uniting Programs, or RAISE UP Act. This critical legislation establishes a grant program to help disadvantaged youth complete their education and plan for a career.
"No one deserves to have their economic future restricted because of difficulties they faced during their early years. Many students leave school due to economic disadvantages or because they lack a nurturing home environment. These young people deserve a second chance to obtain their degree, and RAISE UP will help give them that chance," said Congressman Kildee. "This legislation will not only support individual students, but it will help ensure that America has the most educated and skilled workforce possible."
In Michigan 30 percent of students do not graduate from high school within four years. Currently, many communities have an array of services to support young people who have dropped out of high school. However, few areas have a comprehensive and coordinated strategy. The RAISE UP Act would change that by coordinating these existing, but often disparate, resources into intentional dropout recovery systems at the local level. Funds would be used by local partnerships to identify high school dropouts and connect them with comprehensive support -- academic assistance, workforce preparation, and wraparound services, including mental health, drug treatment, housing and other services. Young people between the ages of 14 and 24 would be eligible for this support system, including runaway and homeless youth, children in foster care and those aging out of care and young people with disabilities.
Nearly 80 organizations are calling for the passage of the RAISE UP Act, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, First Focus, The Corps Network, Center for Law and Social Policy, National Youth Employment Coalition, Campaign for Youth, and United Way. In August, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced a similar measure in the Senate, S. 1608.
Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus said: "The cornerstone of our democracy is an educated citizenry. We must do everything possible to ensure that all of our young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Congressman Kildee is to be applauded for introducing the RAISE UP Act, because it will give our disconnected youth the support they need to do just that. By supporting local systems to reconnect young people who have dropped out of high school to education, job training, and wraparound supports, this legislation will strengthen the outlook for our young people, and our country."