Harder Announces Bipartisan Youth Workforce Readiness Act

October 1, 2019
Press Release
Bill will Provide Career Education Opportunities at After-School Programs

WASHINGTON – As part of his continued effort to bring more jobs to the Central Valley, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) today announced the bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act. The bill would provide funding for hands-on skills education at after-school programs for students starting in elementary school. Forty-one percent of students express concerns about whether they will have the skills they need to find a job upon graduation. The Youth Workforce Readiness Act will ensure that students are exposed to a wide array of technical education offerings at after-school programs, like Boys and Girls Club of America, starting at age six.  

The Youth Workforce Readiness Act would establish a grant for eligible after school programs to equip the next generation with the skills they’ll need to succeed in the workforce. Rep. Harder is joined in introducing the Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2019 by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). The bill is supported by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

“We need more good-paying jobs in the Valley and the way we do that is by making sure that we have folks with the skills employers need,” said Rep. Harder. “This bill would help us get our kids the hands-on experience that will open doors for them when the time comes to start their careers.”

"When I listen to young people, I hear that they are interested in contributing to their communities and obtaining good jobs in the future," said Senator Smith. "And what I hear from employers is that they need help getting connected to great employees with the skills to succeed.  After-school and out-of-school time providers are ideally positioned to help empower young people with the skills they need and make connections to local employers, all of which will help support youth success for years to come and further develop our workforce."

"Setting our country's kids up for success requires investment in career development and education at a young age," said Fitzpatrick. "I am proud to work with Congressman Harder and partner with the Boys & Girls Club of America, a truly remarkable organization, to find bipartisan solutions like the Youth Workforce Readiness Act that give American kids the tools to accomplish great things." 

"To solve the challenges we face as a nation to effectively prepare and equip a skilled workforce, we must start by investing in young people early. Recognizing the time kids spend after school and during the summer as critical for ensuring prosperity and equity for all young people, is just the first step in bringing solutions for our youth," said Jim Clark, president and CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Partnering with leaders like Sen. Smith and Reps. Harder and Fitzpatrick will help us bring national attention and action, so together we can commit to closing the opportunity gap that exists for so many kids and teens today."

Rep. Harder is a leader in efforts to improve education from the primary to post-secondary levels. In July, he introduced a package of bills to invest in career and trades education. The package consists of three bills, each of which addresses different needs within the career and trades education space. Rep. Harder today also announced a massive federal investment in the Valley Occupational Learning and Technology (VOLT) Institute, which provides career and technical education programs to local residents.