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Take Action: New Legislation Aims to Connect Youth at Risk of Violence to Employment


"The best anti-poverty, anti-crime, anti-violence program is a job."
- Senator Dick Durbin (IL)

Senator Dick Durbin (IL) and Representative Robin Kelly (IL-2) introduced two important pieces of legislation yesterday: the Creating Pathways for Youth Employment Act (S. 984; H.R. 2208) and the Helping to Encourage Real Opportunities (HERO) for At-Risk Youth Act (S. 983; H.R. 2209). Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL), Representative Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Representative Danny Davis (IL-7), Representative Luis Gutierrez (IL-4), and Representative Bobby Rush (IL-1) are co-sponsoring the bills.

This new legislation advances access to employment and economic opportunity for at-risk youth in critical ways:

  • The Creating Pathways for Youth Employment Act provides federal resources that make it easier for communities to plan, develop, and expand summer and year-round youth employment programs that serve youth in highly disadvantaged communities and those who are most at risk of experiencing trauma and violence. Drawing from the insights of youth employment providers across the country, the bill includes a focus on incorporating therapeutic approaches such as trauma-informed care and cognitive behavioral therapy alongside mentorship programs and other supports.
  • The HERO for At-Risk Youth Act expands tax credits to businesses that hire, train, and retain youth living in communities with high rates of poverty.

More information about the legislation can be found here.

In 2015, over 5.5 million young people ages 16 to 24 were disconnected from both school and work nationwide. These youth—who are predominantly youth of color—face significant barriers to employment including discrimination, childhood poverty, homelessness, and involvement in the justice and foster care systems. What’s more, in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the country, youth who live in neighborhoods with highly concentrated poverty and unemployment are more likely to become victims of or engage in violent crime. Expanding access to employment and economic opportunity is critical both to ensuring that these young people are on track to long-term success and to disrupting cycles of violence and trauma in communities nationwide.

Take Action!
Send your members of Congress this letter asking them to support this critical new legislation.  

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