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Murphy Opening Statement at Hearing on Creating Opportunities for Youth Employment

Today, Republican Leader of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee Greg Murphy (R-NC) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at a hearing on creating opportunities for youth employment:

"Our conversation today could not be timelier as we know young people ages 16 to 24 are experiencing a decline in employment and labor force participation. In fact, last year in July, the labor force participation rate for these ages was the lowest rate for July dating back to 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics first began reporting the statistic.
"The aim of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth programs – to prepare young adults to embark on successful, fulfilling careers – is necessary for a prosperous workforce. As such, I am thankful that reevaluating these important programs is a task that House Republicans and Democrats are tackling together.

"Before we jump to reauthorizing these programs, we should carefully examine how they can better serve youth, as it appears there is room for improvement to live up to the promise of the last reauthorization.

"For example, Job Corps exists to assist disadvantaged youth by providing them with career and technical education and connecting them with the labor force. This program was allocated 1.7 billion dollars in fiscal year 2021 but has faced significant difficulties in the past both in maintaining safety and security for program participants and in improving their job prospects.

"For this program to serve its purpose, we must reevaluate where the program has failed in the past and increase accountability to ensure that these problems do not persist and that the youth who take part in Job Corps are put on the course to successful careers.

"More broadly, the workforce system is too often siloed and disconnected from regional economic development needs and not agile enough to adapt to emerging demands from businesses.
"How we allocate money always matters. But when it comes to programs that are preparing our kids for the future, it’s about so much more than dollar signs. For our economy to flourish, it is imperative that our nation’s youth are well-prepared to enter the workforce. For the sake of our taxpayers and our children, we cannot blindly funnel money into programs without first considering what works best and is needed by employers in the region.

"However, if we ensure employers are at the table and the system is focused on meeting the needs of America’s young people, House Republicans believe that the WIOA youth programs will fulfill their promise to our nation’s kids.

"As we begin conversations on a bipartisan reauthorization of WIOA, I’m asking my Democrat colleagues to work with us to ensure these programs can meet their primary goal of preparing America’s youth for meaningful careers before we figure out if the programs need to grow.

"I know that we all have the best interest of America’s children at heart and that gives me great hope as we work together to optimize these programs."


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