The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, the teen and young adult population is growing fast, particularly among minorities and immigrant youth; and

WHEREAS, by 2010, teens and young adults will make up the largest segment of America's labor force as 41 million new workers enter the workforce, and a staggering 76 million workers enter retirement; and

WHEREAS, according to the research findings of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University: The employment rate for teens and young adults are at record lows; Since 2000, the nation's teenagers and young adults, especially those without four year college degrees, have experienced steep declines in their employment rates; Unemployed, out-of-school young workers have found it difficult to obtain full-time jobs; In 2003, almost 5.7 million youth between the ages of 16-24 were out-of-school and out-of-work, up from 4.9 million in 2000; While local Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth programs have put some teens to work in recent summers, these job placements have offset only a small share of the job losses experienced by teens; and

WHEREAS, the national graduation rate is 68 percent, with nearly one-third of all high school students failing to graduate;

WHEREAS, the growing segment of the young population is among minorities and immigrants who are most impacted by the dropout rates; and

WHEREAS, a well-prepared youth labor market is critical to meet the nation's future workforce demands in a 21st Century global economy; and

WHEREAS, connecting youth to career and skill paths is crucial to ensuring their future contribution as members of the mainstream labor force as adults; and

WHEREAS, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) provides the nation's only comprehensive youth system to improve the education and training prospects for at-risk in-school and out-of-school youth;

WHEREAS, the Department of Labor's WIA Youth Opportunity Grants represented a major commitment to addressing these conditions and increasing the long term employability of youth living in the poorest communities in our country; and

WHEREAS, disadvantaged youth have been severely underserved since 2000 with the elimination of a separate funding stream for summer job programs; and

WHEREAS, the Administration and Congress have eliminated the Youth Opportunity Grants program in the federal budget; and

WHEREAS, the Administration has proposed to cut services to youth and to allow Governors to reduce or eliminate services to youth altogether by merging the WIA youth formula program into a combined state block grant with WIA adult, dislocated worker and employment service funding,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U. S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress not to include the WIA youth formula program in any block grant; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in WIA reauthorization legislation, The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to: Retain the WIA Youth formula program and authorization funding for the formula program at not less than $1 billion, with an additional $250 million to automatically reestablish the Youth Opportunity Grants program; Provide flexibility to local areas to allow for a wide range of programs and strategies, including summer jobs, as currently provided in WIA; Retain services to both in-school and out-of-school youth; Preserve in-school youth programs and in-school services for 14 and 15 year olds. Maintain the focus on youth development; Ensure that any new targeted grant program for youth be available for both in-school and out-of-school youth, particularly those in high poverty communities and that it must be funded only in excess of the $1 billion dedicated for the youth formula program. Further, ensure funding in excess of $1 billion to include $250 million so that successful Youth Opportunity and Youth Offender programs continue to be funded as part of any new national youth program, assuring local support for such efforts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to make a major new investment in our nation's youth of at least $1 billion to address the unmet needs of youth who have been adversely affected since 2000; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this new investment provide funding for a new initiative to generate summer job and learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth both in-school and out-of-school; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any change in the youth formula allocation and any formula for new programs like the Youth Challenge Grants be substantially weighted to reflect the population to which the funds are targeted, such as high school drop outs, youth in the juvenile justice system, and youth aging out of foster care; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to incorporate lessons learned from the Youth Opportunity (YO) Grant program into WIA reauthorization and incorporate the YO philosophy of long term, comprehensive support focused on youth development into all youth workforce policies and programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to restore its long term commitment to a strong summer jobs program either by providing funding for year round youth activities at a level equivalent to or greater than the FY 2001 funding levels and that summer jobs are part of any WIA reauthorization or by enacting a separate summer job program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to contribute to solving the pervasive problem of youth poverty by providing significant funding for a jobs stimulus program for young people ages 16 to 24, especially high school dropouts and those living in high poverty neighborhoods.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352