Last year, new leadership arrived in Washington making encouraging promises and setting ambitious goals. Over the course of 2021, despite notable victories, progress toward those goals has been halting and sometimes disappointing. The policymaking environment, however, remains fluid, with numerous opportunities for transformational change for the nation’s young adults. YI will fight for expanded economic opportunities for 18-34 year olds, both nationally and regionally.
Our work will reflect our values of community, collaboration, equity, bold ideas, and young adult power. As an organization that understands the complexity of young adults’ lives today, YI focuses on the intersection of a range of issue areas that affect a young adult’s ability to achieve economic stability: health care, higher education, the workforce, and civic engagement. Each year, YI develops our policy priorities based on a combination of research and statistics, what we hear directly from young adults (including our national and regional Youth Advisory Boards), and our knowledge of policy and politics in California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC.
In the sections below, we present our 2022 policy priorities for each of our issue areas.
In higher education, YI will focus on
- Tackling the student debt crisis, and fighting for debt relief;
- Increasing the affordability of and equitable access to college;
- Strengthening systems that support academic success.
In health care, YI will focus on
- Ensuring young adults have the tools and information to get vaccinated and bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control;
- Securing universal health coverage through expanded access and lower cost;
- Prioritizing equitable access to health care, especially mental health care.
In workforce & finance, YI will focus on
- Expanding and improving career pathways for young adults;
- Widening and deepening access to vital supports for basic human needs;
- Fighting for all work to pay a living wage.
Finally, YI will work to increase civic engagement among young people by supporting policies to strengthen and expand voter education and engagement among young adult voters.
We view our research, policy, and communications strategies through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2022, YI’s policy and messaging will continue to reflect this commitment to our staff, partners, allies, funders, and policymaker champions. As an organization, YI is dedicated to continuous learning when it comes to building racial literacy and cultural competency. As an organization that has dedicated itself towards developing a culture and practices of anti-racism, we will continue showing up for other organizations focused on young people of color as effectively as possible. The policies we advocate on and partners we support will reflect a stronger awareness of how we tackle the root causes of systemic inequities.
Our federal strategy will provide a broad platform for our regional offices (California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, and Texas) to tailor their respective agendas in a way that reflects their state’s policy and political landscapes. Values and priorities must always be expressed in a state context, driven by community members. In addition, where regional initiatives can complement and support the federal agenda, they will do so.