House Hearing on “Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults to Break Cycle of Poverty”

2017-05-19 | Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

Alliance member Hillside Family of Agencies is recognized for its achievement

On Wednesday, May 17, the House Ways and Means, Human Service subcommittee held a hearing to address youth unemployment and ways to break the cycle of poverty. Organizations providing testimony for the hearing were Year Up, Alternative Schools Network, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Each of them focused specifically on the following issues: how out-of-touch many training and technical programs are in terms of a 21st century workforce, the high rate of youth living in poverty, and the need for programs to support young family needs.

Cheryl Oldham, vice president of education policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noted that one of every five youth under the age of 18 is living below the federal poverty line, creating barriers to a good education and the job skills necessary to move up the economic ladder. While there are programs in place to help families meet basic needs, “addressing the long-term cycle of poverty takes more than this,” she stated.

In her testimony, Oldham spoke of innovative corporate and private philanthropy collaborations that are seeding new efforts to build a national movement of youth employment initiatives. One example was Alliance member organization Hillside Family of Agencies, led by Dennis Richardson, Alliance board chair. Hillside’s program, Hillside Work-Scholarship, in partnership with Wegmans Food Market, provides programs to at-risk youth that help them finish high school and prepare for work and/or college. The program has helped hundreds of youth across New York, Maryland, and Washington D.C. find and maintain jobs. More than 600 young adults are employed at Wegmans stores alone.

Information about Hillside’s Work-Scholarship Connection program can be found in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Report, “Making Youth Employment Work: Essential Elements for a Successful Strategy.”