Increase CT’s Employment Pipeline by Funding Youth Programs
Connecticut is facing a substantial gap in our state labor force: our employers urgently need more Connecticut residents prepared for the workforce. Presently, thousands of young people are not actively participating, including those who are finishing high school and not planning for college, and those disconnected from education and employment entirely – years after high school completion.
Helping connect these young people with the workforce helps our economy and helps them.
“Last summer I participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program at New Britain High School’s CNA Program with Opportunities Industrialization Center,” said Diana Flores. “The program opened doors for me to pursue my nursing career at Capital Community College and, as an immigrant, is making all my parents’ sacrifices worth it and making my American dream come true.”
Last year, the high-impact Summer Youth Employment Program served 3,016 young people across the state – a decline of 54% from the 2010 service level. This year, an increase in the minimum wage coupled with inflation meant that summer youth employment programs are even more expensive to implement, stretching thin the $5.8 million in funding available across the state for this important program.
Valiant efforts to expand the Connecticut Youth Employment Program to $10 million, which could result in thousands of additional youth signing up for anticipated summer employment, failed to materialize in the final days of state budget adjustments, dashing the hopes of youths and employers.