Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

May 21, 2024

Young activists urge Senate Democrats to halt funding cuts to youth job programs

A group of people filter through a lobby and through large wooden doors. Photo I Courtesy of State House News Service Young people poured into Senate President Karen Spilka's office suite on Monday as part of their lobbying for summer jobs funding.

Young people appealed to lawmakers Monday to stop cuts to youth jobs programs and help more young people compete in the economy, making a pair of Senate Democrats their "primary targets" in lobbying ahead of this week's budget debate.

After holding a raucous speaking program outside Senate President Karen Spilka's third floor office, young people crowded into the Ashland Democrat's suite and then moved on to visit the office of Ways and Means Chairman Sen. Michael Rodrigues. 

They are urging the Senate this week to adopt a Sen. Patricia Jehlen budget amendment adding $5 million to a proposed $15.7 million line item for for youth jobs that will provide support during the upcoming school year and next summer.

Organizer Lew Finfer, from Massachusetts Action for Justice, told the News Service on Tuesday that the exhaustion of American Rescue Plan Act funds has cut sharply into the pool of money available to support youth jobs, dropping it from around $34 million in fiscal 2023 to $19 million in budgeted fiscal 2024 funds available to support youth jobs this summer.

The main summer jobs program line item in question is 7002-0012 and it funds a "youth-at-risk program targeted at reducing juvenile delinquency in high risk areas" as well as year-round employment programs. Jehlen's amendment (#324) has 14 listed cosponsors so it appears it could pass if supporters are able to convince Spilka and Rodrigues to give it leadership's backing.

Ralliers said young people attempting to get a leg up in the economy are struggling with high inflation and structural racism.

Alex Train of La Colaborativa said money earned by young people could help their families pay rent and buy groceries. 

"We're imploring all members of the Senate and the House to consider the amendment that Sen. Jehlen put forth and to really endorse that amendment," Train said.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF