Elaine L Chao

YouthBuild Grant Announcement - Oct. 12, 2007

Elaine L Chao
October 12, 2007— Washington, D.C.
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Remarks Prepared for Delivery
YouthBuild Grant Announcement
Improved Solutions for Urban Systems, Inc.
Dayton, Ohio
Friday, October 12, 2007

Thank you, Al [Dunn, Board Chairman, Improved Solutions for Urban Systems (ISUS), Inc.] for that introduction. We are also joined by Ann Higdon [President, ISUS] as well as ISUS staff. Thank you for all that you do to help young people access opportunity.

I would like to recognize Mason Bishop, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor. Thank you, Mason, for all the great work you are doing with the Department's youth programs.

I'd also like to acknowledge members of the employer community. Greg Vreeland [President, the Home Builders Association of Dayton and the Miami Valley] and Kathy Somers [Chapter President, Associated Builders and Contractors]. Thank you for your commitment to developing industry recognized education and training, and for encouraging your members to hire ISUS youth into Apprenticeship programs.

Welcome also to Dr. Robert Johnson [Senior Vice President of the Sinclair Community College] and Ted Bucaro [Director, Government Affairs, University of Dayton]. Thank you for supporting this effort to help young people gain knowledge and credits to advance their careers.

These individuals, and the organizations they represent, play an integral role in helping young people receive the education and training they need to access opportunity.

Let me also recognize Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH-03) and Judge Walter Rice, who are both long-time supporters of ISUS.

Thank you all for being here today.

This morning, Ann escorted me on a brief tour of one of the local worksites at the Wolf Creek Neighborhood, where a crew of students is building a home. I got a chance to meet and talk with a few of the young people working there. And it was so wonderful to see them learning these great skills while making such a difference in that neighborhood.

As many of you know, Ann founded ISUS in 1992. She created a program for youth that combines rigorous academics and occupational skills training with leadership development and community service. And by reaching out to these young people, Ann and her staff at ISUS, along with all of you here today, have made a tremendous difference in their lives and in your community.

We are here today to kick off a program that we know makes a difference for the other young people in this community who need our help. With a high school drop-out rate of 66.9 percent, it is clear that there are too many young people in Dayton who are not prepared with the education and skills they need to succeed.

As many of you may know, our country is transitioning to a knowledge- based economy. Two-thirds of the new jobs created over the next decade will require some kind of post-secondary education or training. By definition, these jobs pay above average wages because employers are paying a premium for workers with skills that are in demand.

So more than ever, education, training, and re-training are the keys to future employment and earnings. Let me share with you a few examples of how education impacts wages nationally:

Today, high school dropouts average about $522 per week for full-time work and their unemployment rate is about 7.4 percent.

Workers with a high school diploma average $704 weekly and have a 4.6 percent unemployment rate.

And workers with some college or an associate's degrees average about $846 per week and their unemployment rate is 3.4 percent.

But workers with a bachelor's degree or higher average $1,393 per week and have an unemployment rate of 2 percent.

So post-secondary education really pays off!

And this Administration recognizes the importance of connecting America's youth with high quality education and skills training that lead to career opportunities. We are leading an effort that combines youth funding and programs from across the federal government. The goal is to help our nation's most vulnerable youth get the education and skills they need to access rewarding jobs in the real world.

Since its inception, YouthBuild has provided job training and employment opportunities to thousands of across the country. Today, there are over 200 YouthBuild programs operating in the U.S.

And I am so glad to be able to come here to Dayton today to announce the results of our first YouthBuild grant competition. If you have not heard, in 2006, Congress transferred the program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to DOL. The Department is pleased to have YouthBuild as part of its wide array of job training programs aimed at helping youth gain the skills to succeed in the 21st century economy.

The Department is awarding nearly $47 million in YouthBuild grants to 96 organizations across the country. Five of these organizations are located in Ohio, with one located in Dayton.

So, I am pleased to announce a DOL grant for $550,000 to Improved Solutions for Urban Systems, Incorporated—or ISUS. Congratulations are in order because this was a competitive process, and the ISUS proposal was chosen among many applications.

This funding will allow ISUS to continue helping young people access the training and skills they need to build a brighter future for themselves. And when Congress finishes work on our appropriations bill, our total funding commitment to ISUS will likely be $1.1 million over two years.

Ann and her staff at ISUS deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the outstanding work they are doing for this community.

By working together, we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams.

So congratulations! And thank you for everything you are doing to help make a real, concrete difference for the young people in this community. And let me also congratulate all the young people here today, who are doing so much to give back to their community. You are an inspiration!

Now, Ann, if you'll join me.

Allow me to present this check for $550,000 to ISUS to help them continue their important work in this community.

Speech from http://www.dol.gov/_sec/media/speeches/20071012_Youth.htm.