Senate Approps Bill Signals Commitment to Youth Education But Shows Little Promise for Dropout Recovery

Aug 05, 2010

By Kisha Bird 

A Senate subcommittee recently released an appropriations bill that makes important investments in programs to develop career and education opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Unfortunately, the bill doesn't go far enough in investing in programs to re-engage youth who have already dropped out of high school.

The Senate Labor Health and Human Services Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee released its appropriations bill for FY 2011 earlier this week.  The bill provides discretionary funding for a range of safety net, workforce, and education programs.  While the overall bill provides limited opportunities for dropout recovery and reengagement, the bill does make important investments in education and workforce innovations that potentially offer resources to support states and communities in developing career and education pathways for disadvantaged youth, especially high school dropouts.  

The bill funds the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title I Youth activities at $995 million, a slight increase from its FY 2010 allocation of $924,069 million.  The bill requires that $95 million of these funds be directed to a Youth Innovation Fund to support innovative strategies, replicate best practices, and leverage reform efforts to improve the service delivery of youth education and training programs.  In addition, at least 30 percent of the Youth Innovation Fund resources must provide summer employment activities for youth.  Taking these new provisions into consideration, the actual proposed FY 2011 funding level for Title I Youth activities is 3 percent ($24 million) less than its previous year appropriation. 

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