House Dems Introduce Jobs Bill to Address Long-Term and Youth Unemployment

Jul 18, 2013 Issues: Labor, Jobs and Job Training

WASHINGTON – Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) joined other House Democratic members in introducing legislation today to help out-of-work Americans get a job and gain the skills needed to be successful in the global economy.

The Pathways Back to Work Act (H.R. 2721) addresses the long-term unemployment crisis by connecting workers with job opportunities, providing young adults with jobs in summer and year-round employment, and creating a competitive grant for work-related training programs. Programs like this have proven to be successful at increasing employment among these groups and providing a boost to local economies hard hit by long-term joblessness, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is expected to introduce similar legislation soon.

“While the economy has generally headed in the right direction, long-term and youth unemployment remains a significant problem. Congress must do everything we can to get America back to work. Because we know the longer workers go without a job, the more difficult it becomes for them to ever find a job,” said Miller, the senior Democratic member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “This legislation is an important effort to help some of those most impacted by today’s jobs crisis regain the dignity of earning a paycheck and also benefit employers by reducing the cost of hiring new employees.”

According to the latest employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million of the 11.8 million Americans unemployed have been out of work longer than six months. And the unemployment rate for 16 to 19 year olds is 24 percent.

The bill is similar to workforce initiatives previously proposed by President Obama and included in his annual budget request to Congress.

Specifically, the Pathways Back to Work Act:

  • Supports Job Creation for Struggling Working Families. Through subsidized and transitional employment strategies, the bill provides an immediate economic boost and relief to families who have been struggling with unemployment through an $8 billion fund to assist and place long-term unemployed adults in available jobs.
  • Provides Summer and Year Round Job Opportunities for Youth.  The bill includes $2.5 billion in funding for programs to help the 6.7 million 16-24 year-olds who are neither in school nor work, find summer jobs and year-round employment opportunities.
  • Creates Competitive Grant for Work-Related Training for Unemployed Adults and Youth. The bill invests $2 billion in work-based training or education programs for unemployed, low-income adults and