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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today said the Senate has passed the "YouthBuild Transfer Act," S. 3534, a bill that will "assist young adults not currently enrolled in school gain needed education, skills, and knowledge while serving their communities."

"In the next decade, 60 percent of jobs will require skills that only 20 percent of today’s workers possess," Enzi said.  "This bill is part of a comprehensive package, which includes the Workforce Investment Act, the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and the Higher Education Amendments Act, that is aimed at ensuring a lifetime of education and training opportunities for America’s students and workers.  Passage of these bills is essential to retaining America’s global competitive economic advantage."  

The YouthBuild program, enacted in 1992, provides programs for young adults to build or rehabilitate housing for homeless or low-income individuals in their communities while they study to earn their own high school diploma or GED.

"This program serves students most in need of these education and training services, enables them to serve their communities by building affordable housing, and assists them in transforming their own lives and roles in society," Enzi said.

S. 3534 transfers the YouthBuild program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the Department of Labor and expands the list of activities that are eligible for YouthBuild funds.

"By transferring YouthBuild to DOL, the program will be more closely aligned with and benefit from cooperation with the larger workforce system at the state and local levels," Enzi said.  "It will continue to give young people the opportunity to gain occupational and technical skills while building their knowledge to help them become and remain productive members of the workplace."

"I would like to thank HELP Committee Ranking Member, Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Senator Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., and Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., for all their hard work in passing this bill," Enzi said.  "I encourage the House of Representatives to act quickly on this important legislation when they return in September so that we can bring a final bill to the President for his signature."