Sending Office: Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
Cosponsor the Promoting National Service and Reducing Unemployment Act
Please cosponsor the Promoting National Service and Reducing Unemployment Act (H.R. 5618) to address one of the greatest workforce tragedies resulting from today’s economy—our unemployed young people—to spur economic growth and to alleviate strain on state
and local governments. This tragedy is not only harming our young people, but it is also costing our government billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, lost tax revenue and other costs. Although total unemployment has reached a relative low (3.5
percent), the unemployment rate for young people is eight percent. These young people have not had a fair chance to use the high school or college education we strongly urged them to obtain.
What is particularly disappointing, especially in today’s low unemployment economy, is the high unemployment rate for young people who heeded our advice to graduate from high school and college. The total unemployment rate is currently eight percent for
people 16 to 24 years old, 4.5 points higher than the overall unemployment rate, and hundreds of thousands of them now compete for unpaid internships wherever they can find them. By significantly expanding AmeriCorps, my bill would need no new administrative
structure or bureaucracy but would allow unemployed young people to earn a stipend, obtain work experience and develop a good work history to help secure future employment. The net cost of the expansion would be low because these young people would be providing
urgently needed local services that are being eliminated or curtailed because of state and local budget cuts, such as after-school programs, tutoring and assistance for the elderly.
The bill would significantly expand job opportunities for young people who have done what they could to enter into the job market, but, despite their best efforts, remain unemployed in this economy. AmeriCorps participants receive a living allowance and
are also eligible for an education award equal to the value of a Pell grant, school-loan forbearance, health care benefits and child care assistance. By expanding AmeriCorps, we would reduce the number of unemployed young people, provide them with work skills
and experience and help cash-strapped state and local governments provide services that they would otherwise have to cut or eliminate altogether.
For some time, it has been clear that policies to address the most stubborn forms of unemployment need to be targeted in order to be effective. Without significant targeting, many young graduates will continue to face their first years as adults without
jobs and with no way to acquire necessary work experience. They deserve a better start in life as adults. I strongly urge your support for this bill, which would provide urgently needed, targeted assistance for young Americans. If you would like to become
a cosponsor or have any questions, please contact Trent Holbrook in my office at x5-8050 or
Eleanor Holmes Norton
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