— The Trump administration is still waiting for the National Youth Labor Coalition to provide an official response to the administration’s proposal to provide grants to the youth leadership of the United States and its allies to train and equip them for the next wave of global labor battles.
The White House has not yet responded to an inquiry from Axios about the funding, a move that was a surprise to many in the youth movement.
The coalition, led by youth advocates and political leaders, has long been a powerful voice in American youth politics, and its president, John G. McElwee, has been instrumental in the development of the Youth Labor Act, which passed in the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump in February.
The youth movement’s initial reaction to the legislation was to block it from taking effect and demand that it be scrapped altogether, including the bill’s language that requires any federal grant program to be “limited in scope and scope of purpose” and “based on the need for such program to provide a specific and appropriate training program.”
McElweer, who has been a longtime activist for the youth community, has repeatedly said that he believes the funding proposal is a way for the administration to give a political boost to the coalition, which is also led by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the National Council of La Raza.
The president has also argued that the bill is a good way to boost his popularity with voters, according to several sources familiar with the discussions.
But McElwe said in a statement Monday that the coalition “does not need any new funding, which we are fully committed to.”
The president is right about the lack of funding.
We have been working to fund our youth programs and training for years, and this administration is simply blocking our efforts to do so.
As the president said at a press conference announcing the bill, “We’re getting rid of this legislation, and we’re going to take the next step.”
The Youth Labor Center was founded in 2005 as a way to provide funding for youth-led campaigns, and McElWee has said that the legislation has helped the coalition achieve the goals it set out to accomplish, including to improve the quality of life for young people in rural areas, where unemployment is high and housing insecurity is widespread.
McELwee said he hopes to increase funding for the organization and “create a pathway to greater equality” for young men and women.
“The Youth Liberation Front and the Youth Leadership Institute are working on a nationwide initiative that would be a true global community center for youth,” McElhee said.
“This is not a political effort, it is a community effort.”
The Trump administration’s failure to respond to a request for comment from Axio indicates that the administration is aware of the coalition’s work and the coalition has been engaged in it for years.
McElvain said he expects to be back in touch with the coalition soon and would not be surprised if he received a response.
The administration’s lack of response is particularly surprising given that McElwell and other top administration officials have long called for a more aggressive response to youth labor, particularly when it comes to combating youth unemployment.
McEllill and others have proposed a national hiring freeze and a requirement for employers to provide training to the workforce in order to keep the job market “open.”
They have also suggested expanding the use of the E-Verify system to screen job applicants, and mandating that employers provide an employee ID to any worker who requests one.
“I think the administration has gotten caught up in this notion of ‘just get rid of the funding,'” said John Estrada, president of the Young Leaders Institute.
“But they don’t have any idea what this is all about, and I think they’re getting away with it.”
“The administration is so concerned about the youth coalition that they’re really not listening to the voices of youth and workers that are working to improve their conditions, and make them secure and secure for the future,” he added.
“The young leaders have to be at the table, and the youth leaders need to be part of the solution.”