In January 2017, the Reconnecting Youth Campaign launched, calling on Congress to invest in America’s future by funding education, employment, training and national service opportunities for one million Opportunity Youth: young people ages 16- to 24 who are not in school and not working. We launched this campaign during a difficult time in which the president’s budget request to Congress proposed cutting billions of dollars from federal programs serving Opportunity Youth. In less than one year, the Reconnecting Youth Campaign not only helped prevent the proposed cuts, but also helped secure historic increases.
In less than one year, the Reconnecting Youth Campaign not only helped prevent the proposed cuts, but also helped secure historic increases.
When the Reconnecting Youth Campaign started in FY17, the federal government invested $3.216B on Opportunity Youth programs. In FY18 they invested $3.290B ($73M more than FY17 levels). In FY19 they invested $3.338B ($122M more than FY17 levels). Total investments across the two years add up to $195M more funding than if investments stayed at the FY17 levels.
This brief lays out the keys to our legislative success and offers an analysis of which programs received the funding increases, as well as information on who can receive these funds and how to apply for them. This brief was commissioned by the Opportunity Youth/Boys and Men of Color Alignment Strategy Group, since boys and men of color are significantly more likely to be disconnected than are other populations.