By Congressman Mark Takano

All parents dream that their children will be able to do better and have more than themselves. However, the Great Recession that began in 2007 has caused a major step back in the realization of that dream. While nearly every demographic has struggled in the Great Recession, young Americans have suffered the most as the unemployment rate for Americans aged 16-24 is 16.2%, more than double the national average.

Many young people are forced to return home to live with their parents after college, as they are unable to find work and begin building lives of their own. Studies have shown that this long period of unemployment for young people will cost them more than $20 billion over the next decade.

Congress can and should do something to help our nation’s young people.

Earlier this month, I introduced the “Job Skills for America’s Students” Act to do just that. This legislation encourages partnerships between employers and educational institutions by providing employers with a $2,000 tax credit per student participating in a qualified technical training and skills program. Employers that participate and bring students on will have a total credit amount cap of $10,000 per year.

This legislation would promote partnerships like those that Riverside Community College District’s Nursing Program has with local healthcare providers. The nursing program’s extensive partnerships allow students to train in real-life settings, learn to use the most up-to-date equipment and nursing methods, and be recruited by local healthcare providers after graduation. Partnerships like these have contributed to the RCC Nursing Program being recognized as the top nursing program in California.

Many of America’s fastest growing industries involve advanced manufacturing and clean energy. These businesses require a highly-skilled workforce, but are struggling to find workers that possess the technical training to meet their needs. With one study showing that 600,000 manufacturing jobs remain unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates, we must address the growing skills-gap in our country.

Getting our economy back on track will require putting people of all ages back to work. By making the transition from college to work easier for young Americans, we can create a strong, stable economy for generations to come.