Paving a Pathway to Prosperity: Young Adults


Providing Income to Unemployed Workers

Expanding EITC for Young Adults 

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) temporarily expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) eligibility for the 2021 tax year to young workers (19-24) who don’t have dependent children and increased the maximum credit from $542 to $1,502. 

This EITC expansion provided income support to 17 million+ people who work for low pay. 

Partially Forgiving Student Debt 

The student loan payment pause has helped millions of borrowers avoid financial ruin during the pandemic. In 2022, the Biden Administration implemented $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the U.S. Department of Education and up to $10,000 in relief to non-Pell Grant recipients, providing much-needed support to over a third of borrowers. 

Investing in Green Energy 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 invests in climate solutions to help reduce the long-term negative impact on young people, people of color, and people experiencing poverty. The IRA included climate investments and targeted funding to address the disproportionate environmental and public health harms to communities with low incomes and communities of color. This includes Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants to invest in workforce development.  

Making Progress for Immigrant Youth

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan American Dream and Promise Act in March 2021, which would provide a pathway to citizenship to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, undocumented youth, and individuals with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure. The Biden Administration also published a final DACA rule in 2022 bolstering the previous DACA memorandum through regulation. 

Protecting Children’s Mental Health 

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed in June 2022 requires telehealth in Medicaid and revised guidance on care for Medicaid-eligible young people in schools. The bill also funds increased awareness of mental health issues among children and youth and training for staff to better handle mental health needs. The Biden Administration released a comprehensive mental health plan with proposed investments in youth mental health aligned with CLASP advocacy. 

Strengthening Democracy 

Young people shaped the last election and have the power to shape the next one. Despite uneven wins, young people can and must continue pushing for policies that help end poverty, promote racial justice, and build political power for a safer, healthier, more equitable world. 

Make Expanded EITC Permanent 

Making the EITC improvements permanent and including college students with financial needs in such improvements would help improve the financial wellbeing of young adults and other workers without dependent children. 

Relieve Student Debt 

President Biden ran on an agenda that included student debt relief and must now make good on those promises. Congress and the administration should cancel up to $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower, which would immediately increase the wealth of Black borrowers by nearly 40 percent. 

Act Quickly on Climate 

Investing in climate solutions while expanding leases and drilling permits harms Indigenous and frontline communities and violates the principles of Environmental Justice. Congress should invest new IRA funding in evidence-based and targeted workforce development strategies that transition us to a green economy. 

Protect Children’s Health 

The Senate Finance Committee developed a legislative package that aligns with CLASP priorities to address gaps in the mental health system. Congress must pass the youth mental health and telehealth provisions not included in the Safer Communities Act, along with the sections that address workforce, parity, and care integration. 

Pass a Pathway to Citizenship 

Congress must pass a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other immigrant youth, given the threats to DACA and uncertain future facing thousands of young immigrants ineligible for DACA. The Biden Administration must also provide access to health care for DACA recipients through the Affordable Care Act. 

Make Good on Promises 

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provided funding for school hardening and surveillance measures, which are the opposite of “safe.” These measures, which disproportionately harm young people of color and young people with disabilities, conflict with the administration’s commitment to racial equity and must be rolled back. 

Strengthen Democracy 

Even before the pandemic, young people were leading the charge for broad, systemic, and transformative change. In partnership with CLASP, the New Deal for Youth is a youth-led, youth-centered effort to create new systems, policies, investments, and structures that reimagine life for young people. Join the movement, read about their policy demands