Three Club kids smiling at camera with their robot proudly displayed

Bill supports out-of-school time programs that develop career skills and opportunities.

Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2023 Introduced in Congress
Posted 05/18/2023 by Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Our Experts

Press Release

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WASHINGTON – May 18, 2023 – Reps. Josh Harder (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) – alongside Reps. Lori Chavez-Deremer (R-OR) and Lucy McBath (D-GA) –  formally introduced The Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2023 today, following the introduction of the Senate version (S.454) in February by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The legislation will support out-of-school time programs that build knowledge, skills, and enable learning experiences that will help youth prepare for the 21st century workforce and boost their economic potential over a lifetime.  

“We should be doing everything we can to provide our kids with the skills and connections they need to find good jobs and contribute to their communities. I also hear from employers in Minnesota that they need help getting connected to great employees. That’s where afterschool and out-of-school time providers can play a role in helping young people gain skills and make connections to mentors, opportunities and local employers,” said Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), a member of the Senate Education and Labor Committee. “Our bipartisan bill would help support youth success for years to come by exposing young people to a wide range of careers and helping them make connections in the workforce.” 

Right now, U.S. employers are facing unprecedented labor shortages in key industries such as manufacturing, education, and health services, and employers everywhere struggle to find candidates with the essential skills needed for success. Meanwhile, youth are worried about whether they have the skills necessary to secure a job in the face of a rapidly changing economy, and skills gaps have become even more prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic. Afterschool and summer learning programs like the ones offered at Boys & Girls Clubs will be critical as youth-serving providers address unfinished learning and development of essential skills for life and the workplace. The Youth Workforce Readiness Act would support skills-building programs starting at an earlier age, developmental opportunities to address unfinished learning, and expanding the scope and reach of these programs that impact millions of school-age children and teens, programs can support and to build a diverse and skilled workforce that is ready to contribute and strengthen the economy. 

“If today’s young people are going to meet the workforce challenges of tomorrow, they need safe spaces, positive mentorship and work experiences today. Just like the ones offered at out-of-school time providers like Boys & Girls Clubs” said Jim Clark, President and CEO at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “But we know we cannot address these challenges alone. Millions of young people face an uncertain future and a competitive job market. The Youth Workforce Readiness Act utilizes the time kids spend after school and during the summer to develop essential skills and create their pathway to a quality career. We are grateful for the leadership of Representatives Harder, Fitzpatrick, Chavez-Deremer and McBath in identifying solutions and opportunities to support youth as they prepare for their futures.” 

The bill establishes a competitive grant through the U.S. Department of Labor to support youth-serving, out-of-school time organizations providing programs focused on four overarching pillars of youth workforce readiness:

  • Essential Skill Development: supporting social and emotional skills through every developmental stage, such as decision-making, self-awareness and collaboration.

  • Career Exposure: targeted programming through community business partnerships, discovery opportunities, career assessments and planning and insights into in-demand career fields.

  • Employment Readiness & Certification: opportunities including interviewing, resume writing, financial literacy and certifications in specific areas that will help youth land their first job.

  • Work-Based Learning: opportunities to apply skills in real-life, hands-on work experiences through internships, apprenticeships and jobs with local employers.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America 
For over 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( has provided a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. Clubs offer caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles. More than 5,000 Clubs serve 3.6 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.


Media Contacts 

Eliza Lynch
Director of Public Relations
Boys & Girls Clubs of America





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