President Biden’s Reelection Campaign Launches Youth Outreach Initiative: Students for Biden-Harris

President Biden’s reelection campaign is embarking on a new endeavor, introducing a fresh initiative aimed at connecting with young Americans as the general election approaches. The campaign is rolling out Students for Biden-Harris, a program centered on assembling a substantial volunteer base of youthful supporters through various student-led organizations across the country. This move coincides with the potential pivotal role that Gen Z and younger millennials, individuals under 30, might play in the upcoming 2024 presidential race.

Eve Levenson, the Director of Youth Engagement for the campaign, emphasized the significance of this initiative, stating, “This is the primary way for a student to get involved right now,” as reported by NPR. Students for Biden-Harris marks the formal commencement of a youth outreach strategy spearheaded by Levenson. The launch initiates a vigorous recruitment drive for volunteers, with subsequent plans to aid students in establishing chapters or presence in their high schools and colleges, fostering collaboration with these volunteers throughout the electoral cycle.

The campaign is pursuing multiple avenues to engage with young people in anticipation of the election. Among these efforts is “relational organizing,” where volunteers are equipped with campaign materials to directly reach out to individuals in their communities. This approach will be integral to both Students for Biden-Harris and other endeavors targeting young people beyond college campuses.

Furthermore, the announcement follows closely on the heels of the Biden campaign’s recent launch of an affiliated TikTok account, a move perceived as a nod to the app’s popularity among younger Americans. Despite this outreach, the White House is advocating for legislation that would effectively ban TikTok under its current ownership by the Chinese company ByteDance.

While Gen Z and younger millennials largely supported Biden in 2020, securing their support in the upcoming election isn’t assured. According to the latest Harvard Youth Poll, voters under 30 are displaying diminished enthusiasm compared to four years ago. Despite substantial turnout in recent major elections, this demographic remains divided in their support for Biden, particularly in light of criticisms regarding his handling of issues like the conflict in Gaza and emerging movements advocating for ‘Uncommitted’ votes in the Democratic primary.

Acknowledging these concerns, the campaign underscores that the youth vote isn’t monolithic, with no single issue defining it. Highlighting other areas of importance to young voters, such as safeguarding abortion access and the administration’s efforts to address climate change and student loan forgiveness, the campaign aims to bridge information gaps.

Levenson emphasizes the need to address these informational deficits, stating, “Young people have fought for so many things and so much has gotten done. People don’t necessarily know what it is that’s gotten done.”

The launch of Students for Biden-Harris coincides with Biden receiving endorsements from numerous organizations focused on young voters, including Voters of Tomorrow, NextGen PAC, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. However, recent demands from progressive organizations emphasizing the necessity for bolder action from the president indicate ongoing pressure. In a letter issued ahead of Biden’s State of the Union address, these organizations outlined a “Finish the Job Agenda,” urging Biden to declare a lasting ceasefire in Gaza and championing a progressive agenda that resonates with younger generations.

“Going into 2024, you must run on a bold and progressive agenda that invests in our generation and recognizes the need for immediate action to combat the issues of our time,” the letter emphasized, urging Biden to demonstrate unwavering commitment to the concerns of younger voters.

Financial Literacy Gains Momentum in U.S. Schools: A Comprehensive Look at the Growing Emphasis on Personal Finance Education

Personal finance education has gained significant traction in recent years, with many states now mandating it as a requirement for high school graduation. This development has been hailed by activists who have long advocated for greater emphasis on financial literacy.

According to a tracker maintained by Next Gen Personal Finance, the availability of standalone personal finance courses for high school students was limited to just eight states in 2020. However, this year marks a significant increase, with 25 states offering financial literacy classes in K-12. Of these, eight states have fully implemented the course, while 17 are still in the process of doing so.

Jessica Pelletier, the executive director of FitMoney, noted the sudden surge in state initiatives towards financial education, stating, “All of a sudden, it does seem like states are sitting up and taking notice, and it’s really just happened in the past couple of years.”

Experts emphasize that these classes go beyond basic financial tasks like writing checks. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is optimism that financial literacy education will continue to expand, potentially reaching students in middle school as well.

The pandemic appears to have heightened awareness about the importance of financial literacy among educators and parents. Pelletier suggested that the economic downturn and financial hardships experienced by many households during the pandemic contributed to a sense of urgency around financial education.

Lindsay Torrico, the executive director of the American Bankers Association (ABA) Foundation, highlighted the increased efforts to promote financial education. She stated, “Last year, we launched a new effort in a new commitment to engage more banks in financial education.”

Laura Levine, president and CEO of Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, observed a steady growth in financial literacy education in schools over the past two decades. She emphasized that economic instability, such as the 2008 recession and the 2020 pandemic, often catalyzes interest in financial education.

The curriculum for financial literacy covers various topics, including earning income, spending, saving, investing, managing credit, and managing risk. Levine emphasized the comprehensive nature of the curriculum, stating, “We’re seeing if you look at the standard, it covers investing, insurance, savings, spending, budgeting, you know, it’s kind of a full spectrum.”

Recognizing the limitations of relying solely on financial education at home, many schools are now integrating financial literacy into their curriculum. Levine pointed out that not all students have access to financial education at home, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds or in foster care.

Efforts to promote financial literacy are not limited to high school education; there is also a growing emphasis on starting financial education at an earlier age. The ABA Foundation, for example, has programs targeting kindergarten through eighth grade, where bankers deliver presentations and lessons directly to students.

Kelsey Havemann, senior manager of the ABA Foundation’s youth financial education program, highlighted the community-driven initiatives to promote financial literacy, stating, “So the communities have taken it upon themselves to really step up and help out as much as they can with having bankers go into these classrooms and get these kids on the path to financial understanding.”

Despite the legislative progress, the push for greater financial literacy largely hinges on convincing adults to prioritize the subject. Pelletier noted that students are generally eager to learn about financial matters, recognizing the practical relevance of the knowledge they gain. She stated, “This is one of the only classes I’ve really heard of that almost every single student wants to take.”

The widespread adoption of personal finance education in schools reflects a growing recognition of the importance of financial literacy. While legislative efforts have played a role, community-driven initiatives and grassroots activism are also driving progress in this field. As financial education becomes more comprehensive and accessible, there is hope that future generations will be better equipped to navigate the complexities of personal finance.

Proposed Revisions to H-1B Visa Program Aim to Address Shortcomings and Boost Foreign Worker Recruitment

In an effort to streamline the recruitment of foreign workers, the US Economic Innovation Group (EIG) has put forth suggested amendments to the H-1B Visa program.

The current H-1B program has some acknowledged deficiencies, including the annual allocation of 65,000 H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 reserved for individuals holding a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution. This limitation poses challenges, particularly for engineering graduates from U.S. universities who fail to secure an H-1B visa, leaving them without a straightforward avenue to stay.

Another drawback is the imposition of a cap of 7% of total H-1B visas for any single nation, placing a disadvantage on countries with sizable populations, such as China and India, which are major sources of STEM workers. Additionally, the lottery system governing the transition from an H-1B visa to a permanent residency Green Card leads to extended waiting times for individuals from China and India, largely due to country-specific caps.

Furthermore, H-1B visa holders face a tight window of only 60 days to secure a new position if they lose their job, beyond which they are required to leave the country. Complicating matters, current H-1B visa holders must depart the U.S. to renew their visas, as the domestic renewal program was discontinued in 2004 over security concerns.

To address these challenges, the EIG has proposed a series of changes, including the issuance of 10,000 ‘Chipmakers’ Visas’ annually, featuring an expedited pathway to a Green Card. In this proposed system, 2,500 visas would be auctioned off quarterly to qualifying firms, with immediate transfer of visa ownership to the sponsored worker. This five-year visa would be renewable once, providing firms with the certainty of adequate time to scale up their investments in the U.S. and train domestic workers.

Moreover, the proposed revisions aim to dedicate the fees generated from visa auctions to the training of American workers and the provision of domestic scholarships for students and workers across the semiconductor supply chain. This move is intended to foster a more sustainable and inclusive workforce development approach.

Acknowledging the existing challenges, the U.S. State Department has recently taken a step towards addressing some of the problems by initiating a pilot program. This program allows eligible H-1B holders to renew their visas within the U.S. rather than requiring them to leave the country for the renewal process.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has emphasized the urgency of implementing these changes, warning that without a concerted effort in overseas recruitment, the U.S. is projected to face a shortage of 67,000 employees by 2030. The proposed revisions to the H-1B Visa program aim to strike a balance between meeting the demand for skilled workers and addressing the shortcomings of the current system.