Call, visit, or email Congress today and ask them to support $102.5 million in FY’14 & $130 Million for FY’15 for DOL YouthBuild.
2014 & 2015 YouthBuild Federal Appropriation
It is always appropriate and helpful for you to tell your federal elected officials about the benefits of YouthBuild in your community and to let us know that you have done so. You can email email@example.com with reports of your interactions with elected officials. We will follow up with them in various ways.
However, there is no immediate action campaign under way at this time. Congress has still not completed the appropriations process for fiscal year 2014. The Obama Administration is developing its budget for FY 2015.
Background on Pending FY'14 DOL YouthBuild Appropriation
In 2010 the YouthBuild appropriation was $127.5 million, including a basic level of $102.5 million plus $25 million of ARRA (stimulus) funds. This resulted in DOL funding 226 local YouthBuild programs.
It is with this appropriation that the US Department of Labor (DOL) distributes funds through a competitive process to local non-profit or public entities who apply to win a $1.1 million grant to operate a DOL YouthBuild program in their community. While local programs raise funds in many ways, this federal support provides the backbone for the entire national delivery system.
37% cut to DOL YouthBuild
In 2011, pushed by the new leadership in the House of Representatives, Congress cut many programs benefitting low income people. DOL’s YouthBuild program was cut by 37%, down to $80 million. In 2013 sequestration cut an additional nearly 5%.
50 Communities lose their YouthBuild Programs
As a result of the 2011 cut of 37% plus the sequestration cut, MORE THAN FIFTY LOCAL YOUTHBUILD PROGRAMS HAVE CLOSED IN THE UNITED STATES SINCE 2011. This is a tragic waste of the human resources and potential embodied in the youth who will not be engaged, as well as a waste of the federal investment that went into establishing those programs.
In January and March 2013, YouthBuild students, graduates, staff and directors from far and wide took action by traveling to Washington DC to visit their members of Congress on Capitol Hill. They asked their representatives to support the annual appropriation for the DOL YouthBuild program.
29 Senators support FY'14 increase
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) stepped forward to sponsor the annual support letter for YouthBuild. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) had led this process every year since he introduced the original legislation authorizing YouthBuild, but when he left the Senate to become Secretary of State, Senator Gillibrand offered to lead the charge. Twenty-nine Senators signed this support letter calling for returning the basic annual appropriation (minus the stimulus ARRA funds) to $102.5 million for DOL’s YouthBuild program. This was a high number of Senators to support an expansion during that period in Congress, when the general focus was on cutting federal spending.
The Senate appropriations committee responded to the calls by their constituents and the 29 Senators who had signed Senator Gillibrand’s letter(PDF to letter & List of Signatures) by increasing their recommended level to $85 million. However, the House has yet to act, and the FY’14 appropriation has not yet been finalized. We are still waiting on Congress to complete the FY’14 budget process.
Call for $130 million for FY'15
Senator Gillibrand and the National YouthBuild Coalition have called on the Obama Administration to increase the appropriation for YouthBuild in FY 2015 to $130M. The proposed Obama budget for 2015 is expected to be released in February, 2014. At that time Congress will begin deliberating on that budget and we will post an action request.
Note: YouthBuild USA organizes the YouthBuild Coalition to advocate for funding for the DOL YouthBuild program. It follows the laws governing lobbying and does not use any federal funds for this purpose.