New legislation can help West Virginia youth get education, job - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

New legislation can help West Virginia youth get education, job training

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BECKLEY -

If new legislation is passed into law, it could be just what some young people in West Virginia need to get into the workforce.


Recently the Youth Corps Act of 2013 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of Florida. If passed into law, this legislation would amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to enable states, local communities, colleges, existing Corps, and non-profits to replicate and expand one of the most successful models for reconnecting unemployed youth to education, the workforce, and their communities.
 
Under the Youth Corps model, adult leaders serve as mentors and trainers for crews of Corps members as they gain work experience, receive educational programming, and learn the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace, through service projects in their communities or on public lands. 

In West Virginia, the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV) helps youth gain important leadership and workplace skills. The Youth Corps Act would help the CCCWV, and new Youth Corps, work with even more youth in West Virginia to ensure they are reconnecting to education and the workforce.
 
Since the start of the recession, youth unemployment rates have remained at historically high levels, and to an intensified degree for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Corps help combat the lack of unemployment and training opportunities for youth. Since it was established in 1985, members of the The Corps Network have collectively engaged more than 750,000 young people nationwide. Currently there are 127 members of The Corps Network, and they enroll 27,000 youth every year.
 
"We are thrilled that the Youth Corps Act has been brought forward as a pathway to help unemployed youth in West Virginia and elsewhere to gain job skills, training, and education. The Civilian Conservation Corps set the precedent during the Great Depression, and with eighty years of experience we know that Corps strengthen our nation and the lives of the young people who enroll. We encourage everyone to contact their members of Congress because passing this legislation should be a national priority," said Robert Martin, CEO of the CCCWV.
 
Original cosponsors of the Youth Corps Act include Representatives Steve Cohen (TN), Gerry Connolly (VA), Chaka Fattah (PA), John Lewis (GA), Dave Loebsack (IA), and Ben Ray Luján (NM).