CLASP's youth policy work aims to advance policy and practice that will dramatically improve the education, employment, and life outcomes for youth in communities of high youth distress. Learn more>>
We advocate for federal policies that meet the education and training needs of the millions of young people ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school and employment. Read more>>
We work with communities to identify and highlight effective cross-system approaches that can provide opportunities for youth to complete their education, enter the labor market and improve their life outcomes. Read more>>
President’s 2015 Budget Proposal and Boys/Young Men of Color
President Obama has signaled his support of boys and young men of color in very tangible ways during his 2014 State of the Union address, and in his announcement of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, a partnership between government, philanthropy, and corporations aimed at ensuring boys of color are successful. The President’s 2015 budget proposal is the latest demonstration of his commitment to communities of color through expanded and new investments in key areas such as education, youth employment, juvenile justice, mental health, violence reduction, and strengthening communities.
CLASP’s youth work is centered on the idea that it takes a collective and continuous approach to working with youth to ensure that young people remain on a path of ongoing academic achievement, high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment and completion, and solid employment. Currently, young people of color face lesser outcomes than their white peers in each of these areas, with those living in poverty faring the worst. Failure to face this national dilemma and identify solutions has deleterious implications for the nation and communities of color. The President’s budget proposal lays out key investments and ideas that touch youth at critical times in their development and that address issues of concern for communities of color.
A few highlighted opportunities in the President’s proposed budget that have particular impact on boys and young men of color are:
Increase equity and opportunity for students of color along the entire education pipeline.
- Expand access to high-quality early learning through increases in the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, Early Head Start, preschool development grants, the Maternal and Infant Early Childhood Home Visitation program, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Part C).
- Fund a new $300 million Race to the Top Equity and Opportunity competition centered on increasing the academic performance of high-need students and closing the achievement gap. This competition is based on recommendations from the Equity and Excellence Commission’s report, “For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence”.
- Invest in community-level programs serving school-aged children through a $43.3 million expansion of the Promise Neighborhoods to serve 35 additional communities.
- Support innovative strategies and practices that improve college completion rates and make college more affordable for low-income students through the First in the World fund.
Improve the health and well-being of youth of color.
- Improve and expand mental health services for youth and families through a $164 million investment in the President’s Now is the Time initiative, which includes $20 million to support transitioning youth ages 16-25, and $50 million to train mental health workers to work better with youth.
- Make targeted improvements to the Medicaid program to increase accessibility of mental health services, particularly for youth.
- Strengthen health services for the American Indian/Alaska native community through $4.6 billion in resources for the Indian Health Service (IHS) to strengthen services and improve accessibility.
- Through the President’s Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, fund construction of two new Indian Health Service healthcare facilities to improve the health of American Indians and Alaska natives.
Address issues of violence and concentrated poverty in communities and schools.
- Make schools safer through the President’s Now Is the Time initiative to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies.
- Transform communities of concentrated poverty through an expansion of the Choice Neighborhoods Program to serve an additional 7-10 neighborhoods ($120 million), and $15 billion in the Project Rebuild program to help communities reduce blight from foreclosed and abandoned homes.
Increase employment opportunities for youth of color and their families.
- Provide subsidized jobs for low-income individuals by redirecting $602 million in TANF to the Pathways to Jobs Initiative.
- Create summer and year-round job opportunities for 600,000 youth by investing $2.5 billion in mandatory funding for the Summer Jobs Plus Program.
- Increase job training and financial incentives for individuals in public housing through Jobs-Plus program.
Reduce ethnic and racial disparities in the juvenile justice system and help youth get back on track.
- Provide $80 million for Department of Labor programs that provide employment-centered services to adult and youth ex-offenders and at-risk youth. These programs reduce recidivism by providing counseling, job training, drug treatment, and other transitional assistance to former prisoners as they reintegrate into the job market and community life.
- Through the President’s Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, create a new youth investment initiative that will incentivize state efforts to increase the availability of alternatives to incarceration, reenroll youth back into school after confinement, and reduce ethnic and racial disparities in the juvenile justice system.
While the deliberations over this budget are just beginning and the extreme level of partisanship in Washington will make it a challenging process, these areas of investment present an encouraging picture. As this process moves forward, there may be opportunities to advocate for particular resources that would be critical to improving outcomes for boys and young men of color, particularly in communities where opportunities are vastly diminished. It is our hope that Congress and the Administration will be able to work together to advance a budget that is both fiscally responsible and sensitive to the issues facing so many communities of color and ensuring equitable outcomes for all.
Data Resources for Communities!
To promote greater understanding of the scope of the disconnected youth problem in high poverty, urban areas, we created the "Keeping Youth Connected" Data Profile Project. Local data on indicators related to education, crime and victimization, employment, and family stability is available in a PDF data profile or downloadable in Excel. Currently 20 communities are available.READ MORE »
- Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success and Youth Policy Team | Jan 30, 2014 CLASP Comments on House Hearing Keeping College within Reach
- Zane Jennings and Kisha Bird | Jan 17, 2014 The High Cost of Youth Unemployment
- Nov 07, 2013 Nearly One in Five Americans Has Low Basic Skills, but Solutions Exist to Strengthen America's Workforce
- Oct 29, 2013 Creating Paths to College and the Urgency of Now
- Oct 23, 2013 CLASP Report Highlights the Challenge of Young Black Male Unemployment, Offers Policies, Practices to Address Deep-Seated Problem
- Mar 10, 2014 The President’s Budget: New Investments, A Vision for Vulnerable Youth
- Kisha Bird | Dec 23, 2013 Opportunity Says it All: How Five Communities Are Supporting the Transformation, Education, and Employment Success of Young Black Men
- Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success and Youth Policy Team | Jan 28, 2014 CLASP Comments on House Hearing: Keeping College Within Reach
- Kisha Bird | Jan 23, 2014 Mission Critical: Strategies to Help Disadvantaged and Disconnected Youth Reach Their Full Potential
- Tom Salyers | Dec 13, 2013 Budget Deal Would Halt Some Sequester Woes, Provide Fiscal Stability