Two significantly under-funded components of the laudable idea behind No Child Left Behind are the federal Summer Jobs program and the youth component of the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
The Summer Jobs initiative makes it possible for at-risk youth to learn the habits, tools, and values they need to make their dreams and ambitions come true. They learn by interning in structured programs over the summer. These initiatives are important to the youngsters who participate - and enlightening to their summer employers, who will hire tomorrow’s entry-level employees.
WIA programs include summer jobs - plus, counseling, mentors, training, leadership development, and alternative education services.
The Summer Jobs program alone needs about a billion dollars more than is currently being spent. The WIA needs Congressional reauthorization and a firm commitment to the parts of the program that involve young people, including 14 and 15 year olds.
The social costs of failing to invest in these two programs now will break the bank tomorrow.
Attention, please, Missouri Congressional delegation.