On July 31, 2013, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions passed S.1356, the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, which provides vital resources that will enable Urban League affiliates that operate Urban Youth Empowerment programs to expand their capacity to reach and address the needs of a population of youth who are falling through the cracks and in desperate need of services. The bill incorporates key components of the Urban Jobs Act, which was introduced this term and championed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
The committee’s passage of the bill shifts the focus of youth unemployment from debate to action by offering comprehensive and targeted solutions. The bill’s delivery mechanism includes national and regional intermediaries with their army of community-based affiliates around the country who are primed to meet the challenge in partnership with state and local workforce investment boards. The Urban League applauded this latest development and singled out Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for special recognition for her efforts to ensure that support for job creation in urban areas was a part of this measure.
Following is the statement of the National Urban League on the Passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 out of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:
“For more than a decade, job training programs under the Workforce Investment Act have languished without re-authorization, so the importance of the Committee’s bi-partisan passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 cannot be overstated. This is a crucial milestone for urban America, for the National Urban League’s Jobs Rebuild America campaign.
“We also are thrilled that this bill incorporates key provisions of the Urban Jobs Act, a measure for which the Urban League has long fought. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand deserves special praise and our appreciation for her commitment and leadership in championing the inclusion of these crucial provisions that will help address the needs of disconnected youth.
“With youth unemployment at historic levels—and black youth unemployment in a critical state—this measure would provide much-needed tools and services to help these individuals rebuild their lives and chart a path to economic independence and upward mobility. Investing in these youth is an investment in the future empowerment of our communities.
“The National Urban League has worked tirelessly for nearly five years with Congress to ensure that our urban communities receive the support and investment they need to rebuild in the wake of the Great Recession and get back to work. With yesterday’s action, we are one step closer to realizing these goals. “We look forward to the Senate taking up the bill immediately upon their return from their congressional recess and moving it forward towards enactment.”