Washington, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) introduced H.R. 6786, the Reengage the Workforce Act, which would provide federal grants to organizations that work with students who did not complete high school to help them earn their GED and offer additional workforce training and career support programs. The grants would be created within the Department of Labor, in consultation with the Department of Education, to help facilitate the advancement of education through in-person or virtual programs alongside any necessary support services. This bicameral legislation is led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). 

“It is important we are proactive in reengaging students who have not been able to complete high school and help them obtain the qualifications that will make it easier to join the workforce and support themselves in future,” said Rep. Lynch. “While the number of students who did not complete high school has fallen in the past decade, the percent of those students that are not in the labor force has increased. This bill will help enable organizations, like the Boston Public Schools Re-engagement Center, better assist those students by allowing them to reenter secondary school with support services, such as transportation or childcare, or enroll in flexible courses to earn their GED.”

“For the tens of millions of Americans across the country without a high school diploma, the American dream is becoming increasingly out of reach,” said Sen. Booker. "Everyone deserves the chance to succeed, which is why I am introducing legislation to help people reconnect with educational opportunities and meaningful career paths. By providing more opportunities for those who are not in school or in the workforce to get back in, we can ensure more people have the tools to build brighter, more promising tomorrows for themselves, their families, and their communities.”  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals who did not finish high school make up the highest percentage of unemployed people in the country and earn $162 less weekly than those who earned their diploma. Establishing this grant program will help organizations dedicated to reengaging students and allow them to offer more critical programs such as life planning workshops, career training, resume reviews and interview assistance.

The Reengage the Workforce Act is endorsed by Jobs for the Future, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, National Skills Coalition, The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, National Youth Employment Coalition, Opportunity Youth Network, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), New Deal for Youth (ND4Y).