In the midst of the debate over the 2011 budget and the Continuing Resolution, the President has proposed a budget for the 2012 fiscal year. While President Obama proposes some new investments in jobs and economic opportunity for Millenials, he does not call for the overhaul necessary to put our generation back to work and back on track.
There are some very good proposals. The budget invests in clean energy initiatives that can lead to job growth, funds primary care training for doctors, and creates the “First in the World” competitive grant program to ensure that schools better connect higher-education to in-demand jobs. There are potential job-creating initiatives in the transportation bill reauthorization, Workforce Innovation Fund, an expansion of AmeriCorps, and an innovation fund for start-up businesses. Overall, the President clearly intends to make long-term investments into programs that will strengthen the long-term economic prospects for our generation.
On the other hand, the President proposed some cuts to programs that help young Americans. His budget would eliminate summer school Pell grants and interest rate subsidies for graduate students. Other areas like Job Corps – a residential education program for disconnected youth – would endure significant reductions.
A major concern, in both the President’s Budget and the CR, was the absence of any clear plan to get this generation back to work in the near-term. Unemployment for young Americans is twice the national average. We need help now, not just in five or ten years. If Millenials cannot return to work soon, the Great Recession will permanently diminish our wages, our long-term career choices, and our ability to raise a family.
Meanwhile, the Republicans in the House will soon introduce their own budget for FY 2012, and given the cuts they are supporting in the CR process for the rest of 2011, their proposal will likely be much, much worse.