SECTION 1. A Youth Solutions Commission shall be established to identify youth workforce best practices and programs nationwide and to evaluate programs currently supported by the commonwealth.
The commission shall consist of 30 members 1 of whom shall be the secretary of labor and workforce development, or his designee, who shall serve as chair; 1 of whom shall be the secretary of education, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of higher education, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of social services, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of youth services, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of transitional assistance, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of mental health, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the president of the Commonwealth Corporation, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of public health, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the chair of the house committee on ways and means, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the chair of the senate committee on ways and means, or his designee; 2 of whom shall be the chairs of the joint committee on education, or their designees; 1 of whom shall be a member to be appointed by the speaker of the house; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the senate president; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; and 12 of whom shall be appointed by the secretary of labor and workforce development, 2 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Workforce Board Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Workforce Professionals Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Community Action Network; 1 of whom shall be a representative of YouthBuild; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts AFL/CIO; 1 of whom shall be a representative selected from a list of 3 nominees proposed jointly by the Massachusetts Dropout Prevention Commission; and 3 of whom shall be experienced in successful youth workforce program efforts including, without limitation: public schools, the nonprofit sector, law enforcement or municipally-administered after-school and recreation programs.
SECTION 2. The Youth Solutions Commission will be responsible for reviewing existing program strategies in youth employment, education pathways and efforts to reduce violence and dropout rates in an integrated, coordinated and cost-effective manner. The commission will propose adoption of policies, laws, regulations and/or other actions necessary to establish an effective, youth workforce and education system in the Commonwealth through specific strategies, agency and community coordination and collaboration and consistent investments. The commission should seek to achieve the maximum level of coordination and co-investment in each of the agencies named herein: private sector employers, and philanthropic organizations in Massachusetts including a review of proven investment strategies including school-to-career connecting activities, youth-at-risk programs for a year-round employment program for youth in all workforce regions and grants for community safety initiatives.
SECTION 3. The commission shall examine and make recommendations on: (1) better coordination between dropout prevention/recovery, alternative education, youth safety initiatives, postsecondary education opportunities and summer and year-round youth employment programs; (2) linking violence prevention programs with productive and enriching education and employment programs; (3) youth transitions from summer employment to year-round employment or an internship programs; (4) youth employment programs that have had consistent success in increasing high school graduation rates for at-risk youth; (5) improved connections between high schools and postsecondary education programs in high-demand sector areas to be updated at least once in a twelve month period; and community colleges to four year institutions through articulation agreements; (6) linkages between public-private organizations and private employers so ensure youth have access to private sector jobs; (7) an apprenticeship system with private sector employers including on-the-job training and employer tax incentives or wage subsidies; (8) implementing the recommendations of the Massachusetts Graduation and Dropout Prevention and Recovery Commission in Making the Connection, and the best practices from Project Reconnect as a model to re-engage youth; (9) reviewing existing alternative education program options, assessing the need for additional program approaches and making recommendations to increase capacity for innovative programming to meet the needs of disconnected youth; (10) examining policy to encourage after-school and out-of-school programs to connect youth with community-based experiences outside of an educational setting; (11) track the long-term effects of all youth employment and education programs through wage record matching and graduation rate reporting
SECTION 4. The commission shall conduct its first meeting not less than 90 days after the effective date of this act and shall conduct not less than 3 public hearings in geographically diverse regions of the Commonwealth. The commission shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations together with legislation, if any, to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the same to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on education and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means not later than May 15, 2011.
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