January 31, 2023

Congressman Castro Introduces 2023 Economic Growth Agenda to Create Jobs and Opportunity in San Antonio

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced his 2023 Economic Growth Agenda — three pieces of legislation to create jobs, strengthen workforce development, and expand economic opportunity in San Antonio and across the nation.

“A strong economy starts with a strong workforce, and in San Antonio and across the nation, folks deserve a fair shot to pursue their dreams,” said Congressman Castro. “These bills will expand pathways to good-paying jobs and build an economy that allows more Americans to succeed. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move these bills through Congress and onto the President’s desk.”

“We are grateful to Congressman Castro for his continued commitment to ensure federal funding is made available to allow for proven participant centered services such as case management, career navigation and job placement. These direct services have been shown to be vital in effective workforce development efforts,” said Molly Biglari, Project QUEST President and CEO.

“As we navigate a period of unprecedented turnover and retirements, there is one question on everyone’s minds in Head Start: who is going to teach the next generation of learners and how can we ensure they are well prepared and supported to take on this work?” said National Head Start Association Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “Paid on-the-job learning with mentorship from experienced practitioners will help address the workforce challenges Head Start is facing. We thank Rep. Castro for charting a path forward for Head Start that allows the up-and-coming workforce to be a catalyst for positive change.”

“Apprenticeship is a proven method of providing our country’s workforce with the on-the-job training and skills they need to be successful in their careers,” said Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. “Across the country, youth are experiencing a rapidly changing economy. This legislation would put more resources into the hands of businesses, industry partners and young learners to provide a career pathway to success through youth apprenticeship. The jobs of the future require training today. ACTE applauds the leadership of Congressman Castro in supporting youth apprenticeship now and in the future.”

“Youth apprenticeship connects young adults with employers in finance, technology, healthcare and other growing sectors, and puts them on a low-cost path to valuable credentials and careers. The Strengthening Our Youth Apprenticeships Act is a step toward better defining youth apprenticeship and ensuring experiences are connected to education pathways and systems that can promote quality, mobility and scale,” said Taylor White, Director of Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship & Postsecondary Pathways for Youth, New America.

"Youth apprenticeships serve an important function of connecting Career Technical Education (CTE) systems and apprenticeship programs more seamlessly. This legislation would increase and improve pathways to college and career success for a greater number of our nation's learners and Advance CTE is pleased to support this legislation,” said Advance CTE Executive Director Kimberly Green. 

Building from the two strongest years of job growth in American history, Congressman Castro’s Economic Growth Agenda includes:

  • The Navigating to Success Act. This legislation allows organizations to use federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funding for wrap-around programs that support job training and skill development. Inspired by San Antonio’s Project QUEST, this legislation could fund services including interview preparation, financial support for tuition, rental assistance during job training, and more. Under current federal law, these services are treated as administrative expenses, limiting the type of federal funding available.
  • Head Start for Our Future Act. This legislation amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make jobs in early childhood education eligible as community service under the Federal Work-Study Program. The Head Start for Our Future Act would help aspiring teachers finance the cost of their education while addressing the national shortage of childcare professionals.
  • Strengthening Youth Apprenticeships Act. This legislation funds the expansion of apprenticeship programs that help young people build pathways to lifelong careers. Specifically, the Strengthening Youth Apprenticeships Act would create an interagency agreement between the Secretaries of Labor and Education to provide publicly available guidance and best practices to support youth apprenticeship programs in secondary and postsecondary education programs.