Sanders and Conyers Propose Youth Jobs Bill

WASHINGTON, June 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today visited an innovative job training site for unemployed youth in the capital city’s Anacostia neighborhood and unveiled legislation with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to create new jobs.

“We cannot continue to ignore the crisis of youth unemployment in America.  We are talking about the future of an entire generation,” Sanders said. “We have got to make sure that young people in Washington, D.C., and all over this country have the opportunity to earn a paycheck and to make it into the middle class.”

Sanders and Conyers today introduced companion bills in the Senate and House to provide $5.5 billion for states and local governments to employ 1 million youth from ages 16 to 24 years old. The U.S. Department of Labor would provide $4 billion in grants to provide summer and year-round employment opportunities for low-income youth. Another $1.5 billion would be allotted for competitive grants for work-based training programs.

Their measure also would provide training for hundreds of thousands of young Americans who in many cases have finished high school but have no prospects for college or other training and no job opportunities.

“Despite the nation’s progress on job creation, America’s youngest workers continue to struggle with an unemployment rate that is twice as high as that of the general population,” said Conyers. “For young high school graduates, the unemployment rate is 19.5 percent, while the underemployment rate is a shocking 37 percent, over 10 points higher than before the Great Recession.”

“The answer to unemployment and poverty is not and cannot be the mass incarceration of young African Americans,” Sanders said.  “It's time to bring hope and economic opportunity to communities across the country.”

After announcing their plan, Sanders and Conyers toured the H.O.P.E. Project in Anacostia, which offers a job training program for young men and women in poor communities. Students commit to an intense training period in technology skills and have found work in the federal government, at private firms and elsewhere after finishing their classes.

To read the bill, click here

To read a fact sheet on the legislation, click here

To read Sanders’ prepared statement, click here