FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
National Business and Workforce Development Leaders Call on Presidential Campaigns to Prioritize Expansion of National Service
More than 60 of the nation’s leading business and workforce development leaders sign bipartisan letter
WASHINGTON, DC (October 26, 2020) – The Serve America Together campaign today released a letter signed by more than 60 of the nation’s leading business and workforce development leaders calling on President Trump’s and Vice President Biden’s presidential campaigns to prioritize the expansion of national service.
“National service provides an opportunity for people from many different backgrounds to come together and work in pursuit of a common cause. National service also can help an economy in crisis and provide a helping hand to people in need,” said Howard Schultz, Chairman Emeritus of Starbucks, co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation, and executive co-chair of the Serve America Together campaign. “The need for pandemic-related support services will only increase as the virus continues to cause health, economic, educational and emotional problems. As we think about what we want to prioritize in the next four years as a nation, expanding national service should be high on that list."
With historically high national youth unemployment rates, the Serve America Together campaign urges the presidential campaigns to leverage national service as a way to boost the economy and fill the pressing social needs facing various populations of the American public, such as elder care.
“By building the infrastructure to expand and enhance national service in America, we can solve critical issues facing both the young and the old,” said Jeff Huber, CEO of Home Instead, Inc., and a co-chair of the Serve America Together campaign. “Such a coordinated approach to service would be invaluable for our efforts to help Americans grow older, with dignity. At the same time, it would also put in place the critical pieces needed to strengthen our workforce for young people coast to coast. Service-focused roles would give American youth the opportunity to develop professional skills they’ll need as they advance in their careers — especially sought-after “soft skills” like problem solving, leadership, communication and confidence.”
The letter draws on Serve America Together’s campaign platform and urges on the presidential campaigns to expand national service in order to empower young Americans, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and help knit our country back together.
View all signatories and the full letter to the campaigns here.
“National service is transformative for the young people of YouthBuild,” said John Valverde, president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “Opportunity youth – 16 to 24 year-olds who are out of school and out of work — are among the most impacted young people in our country. National service for these young people, for whom trauma has been an all too common experience, changes the trajectory of their lives. That’s why we are proud to be part of the Serve America Together campaign as it elevates a national conversation about the importance of service. Young people who have been the beneficiaries of the service of others, now provide that service and pay it forward, and often begin to imagine a future they never thought would be possible.”
"National service can put young people whose lives have been disrupted by COVID-19 back on a path to furthering their education and careers,” said Adria Steinberg, Senior Advisor, Jobs for the Future. “By participating in a well-structured service year, these young Americans can get the kinds of support and training that will help them develop the skills and capabilities needed to realize their dreams and boost our economy."
About Serve America Together
Serve America Together is a campaign to make national service part of growing up in America. The campaign is led by a coalition of over a dozen military and civilian service organizations as well as a group of bipartisan co-chairs including Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, Howard Schultz, Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Former Congressman Joe Heck, Former Gov. Deval Patrick, Arianna Huffington, Laura Lauder, Andrew Hauptman, and Jeff Huber. It is a project of Service Year Alliance, an organization working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. Learn more about Service Year Alliance at serviceyearalliance.org.