76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008



WHEREAS, The Conference of Mayors is committed to promoting the well-being and positive development of the nation&rsyoung people; and

WHEREAS, Mayors know how early work experience provides educational and enrichment opportunities lead to academic improvement for millions of disadvantaged youth; and youth who work are more apt to: stay in school, finish high school, and pursue post-secondary education and/or vocational training;and

WHEREAS, the labor market for the nation’s teens has deteriorated considerably since 2000, when 45% of U.S. teens had summer jobs, to the historic low of 34% last summer (2007); and

WHEREAS, matching the youth unemployment crisis is the nation’s troubling dropout rate: one in three youth will not graduate from high school with their peers; and fifty percent (50%) of African-American and Hispanic youth are not completing highschool; and

WHEREAS, by 2010 the largest segment of the nation’s labor force will be teens and young adults as 41 million new workers enter the workforce beginning to replace 76 million retiring workers;and

WHEREAS, millions of young people are being left behind, disconnected from school and the world of work, and unable to participate in the U.S. economy; and

WHEREAS, only a significant reinvestment in all youth, but most especially those young people with low educational attainment and poor connections to work, will reconnect them to the economic mainstream; and

WHEREAS, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) provides the nation’s only comprehensive youth system to improve the education and training prospects for at-risk in-school and outof-school youth; and

WHEREAS, WIA reauthorization has stalled in Congress and it is growing increasingly unlikely that work will be completed on the Workforce Investment Act this year; and WHEREAS, the Department of Labor’s WIA Youth Opportunity Grants represented a major commitment to addressing these conditions and increasing the long term employability of youth living in the poorest communities in our country; and

WHEREAS, the Administration eliminated the Youth Opportunity Grants program in the federal budget, and Congress did not earmark the Summer Jobs Act of 2008 for funding in the first and second economic stimulus packages; and

WHEREAS, disadvantaged youth have been severely underserved since 2000 with the elimination of a separate funding stream for summer job programs; and

WHEREAS, well-organized summer jobs programs bring immediate and long term benefits to teen workers, their communities, and the business sector; and

WHEREAS, developing skills to be productive workers, learning about various industries, and participating in the adult world of work are all important aspects of cultivating the next generation of workers,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to make a major new investment in our nation’s youth of at least $1 billion to address the unmet needs of youth who have been adversely affected since 2000; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this new investment provide funding for a new Summer Jobs initiative to generate summer job and learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth bo thin-school and out-of-school which includes:

  • Promoting career exploration across a variety of industries and fields helping young people learn more about their interests, aptitudes and the ways these can be applied in the local labor market; and

  • Providing internships allowing students to combine academic and employment pursuits; and

  • Developing connections to local school curricula so lessons learned at work relate to academics; and

    • Developing training for youth supervisors, ensuring summer work experiences are appropriate and fulfilling; and

    • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in WIA reauthorization legislation, The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to:
  • Retain the WIA Youth formula program and authorization funding for the formula program at not less than $1 billion, with an additional $250 million to automatically reestablish the Youth Opportunity Grants program;

  • Provide flexibility to local areas to allow for a wide range of programs and strategies, including summer jobs, as currently provided in WIA;

  • Retain services to both in-school and out-of-school youth;

  • Preserve in-school youth programs and in-school services for 14 and 15 year olds.

  • Maintain the focus on youth development;

  • Ensure that any new targeted grant program for youth be available for both in-school and out-of-school youth, particularly those in high poverty communities and that it must be funded only in excess of the $1 billion dedicated for the youth formula program.

  • Further, ensure funding in excess of $1 billion to include$250 million so that successful Youth Opportunity and Youth Offender programs continue to be funded as part of any new national youth program, assuring local support for such efforts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any change in the youth formula allocation and any formula for new programs like the Youth Challenge Grants be substantially weighted to reflect the population to which the funds are targeted, such as high school drop outs, youth in the juvenile justice system, and youth aging out of foster care; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to incorporate lessons learned from the Youth Opportunity (YO) Grant program into WIA reauthorization and incorporate the YO philosophy of long term, comprehensive support focused on youth development into all youth workforce policies and programs.