"In an increasingly global economy, and with retirement underway for the Baby Boomer generation, Congress has indicated a strong interest in ensuring that today's young people have the educational attainment and employment experience needed to become highly skilled workers, contributing taxpayers, and successful participants in civic life. Challenges in the economy and among certain youth populations, however, have heightened concern among policy makers that some young people may not be prepared to fill these roles. The employment levels for youth under age 25 have declined markedly in recent years, including in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession. Certain young people--such as high school dropouts, current and former foster youth, and other at-risk populations--face challenges in completing school and entering the workforce. While the United States has experienced a dramatic increase in secondary school attendance in the past several decades, approximately 9% of youth ages 18 to 24 have not attained a high school diploma or its equivalent. [...] Today's primary federal youth employment and job training programs are carried out by the Department of Labor's (DOL's) Employment and Training Administration (ETA). These programs were authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA, P.L. 105-220) through FY2003, and Congress has continued to appropriate funding for the programs in subsequent years. Although these programs have varying eligibility requirements and are carried out under different funding arrangements, they generally have a common purpose--to provide vulnerable youth with educational and employment opportunities and access to leadership development and community service activities."
CRS Report for Congress, R40929