Part Two: Lifting Up Policy Ideas for the Next Administration and the Next Congress

The following post was written by America Forward Managers Juanita Tolliver and Sarah Groh.

Since Election Day, the America Forward Coalition has been hard at work conducting outreach and further developing a strong set of priorities we urge Congress and the next Administration to move on. With alignment now between the party at the helm of the White House and controlling Congress, a large degree of decision-making about policy priorities and movement will be shared between the next Administration and the 115th Congress.

Given this reality, the America Forward team is gearing up for strong engagement with the next Congress, a Congress that will include a number of members from both sides of the aisle who have been long-time champions of our work. Members like Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Senator-elect Todd Young (R-IN), Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), just to name a few. Moreover, we will continue our ongoing efforts to amplify the local solutions being developed and delivered by our Coalition members every day through strategic communications, as well as mobilizing our Coalition members, and the communities they serve, through public engagement, advocacy, and education opportunities.

Our Actionable Policy Ideas:

Throughout our post-election outreach efforts, we’ve focused on highlighting a series of policy ideas that are featured in our Moving America Forward memo, the Investments in Infrastructure and Workforce Development policy proposal, the Women and Families Innovation Initiative proposal, as well as the agency-specific memos that our colleague, Nicole Truhe, outlined in a recent blog post, and America Forwards looks forward to working with the incoming Administration and the 115th Congress to refine and implement these policies. Here’s a preview of the ideas that we’ve been sharing and discussing with policymakers and stakeholders so far:

First 100 Days Ideas

  • White House Office of Local Solutions and Entrepreneurship: The next Administration should establish an office that has the primary mission of examining existing programs to open federal funding streams to proven community-based organizations, expanding the capacity of effective social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations at the local level, leveraging research and development, and fueling private sector investment in innovative, outcomes-driven programs.
  • Outcomes-Driven Credentialing and Certification Programs: The next Congress and President-elect Trump should support student-centered efforts to connect skills and experiences with job placement through the development and implementation of new outcomes-driven forms of credentialing and certification.
  • White House Conference on Overcoming Barriers – Education and the American Dream: The incoming Administration should convene a White House Conference in partnership with parents, educators, students, and advocates. Hundreds of thousands of students struggle with learning and attention issues, and many more are impacted by trauma. This conference would take a fresh approach to leveraging cross-sector partnerships to build learning environments that give all students access to the American Dream.
  • Elevating National Service: National service programs advance key federal policy area and agency goals at a low cost, and provide a strategic pathway for young adults as they transition from school to career. In order to fully leverage the cost savings and workforce development opportunities facilitated by national service programs, the next Congress and the next Administration should increase the number of available full-time national service positions.
  • Investments in Infrastructure and Workforce Development: Investing in our national infrastructure has the potential to revitalize communities, make America more competitive, and create millions of jobs. In crafting an infrastructure investment plan, the next Administration should align infrastructure investment with investment in our workforce to make the vision of building tomorrow’s economy today a reality for communities and workers alike.

First Term Ideas

  • Community Solutions Tax Credit: In order to scale high-quality community-based organizations, incentivize private sector investments, and leverage the power of innovative social entrepreneurial organizations, President-elect Trump and the next Congress should support the creation of a new Community Solutions Tax Credit, modeled after the New Market Tax Credit.
  • A Pay for Results Agenda: Current government decision-making about policy and funding allocations is too often focused on inputs and outputs rather than on results. With the creation of the Congressional Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, as well as the overarching themes outlined in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “A Better Way Agenda” – an agenda which has received overwhelming bipartisan support, we’ve seen a promising shift in the way the government functions. President-elect Trump should support a Pay for Results Agenda that encompasses a broad effort to make government policy and funding decisions more effective and efficient in order to measurably improve the lives of all Americans.
  • Accelerating College Access and Success Fund: In addition to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the next Congress and President-elect Trump’s Administration should consolidate funds from existing programs to create an Accelerating College Access and Success Fund that award grants on a competitive basis to develop and scale innovations and organizations that increase college access, persistence, and completion, address the needs of today’s students, and provide clear pathways from college to career.
  • Women and Families Innovation Initiative: Today, women make up more than half of the U.S. population and constitute almost half of the workforce, however, women still face a number of significant and unique challenges, and these challenges are often dual-generational, impacting children in multiple ways. In order for the government to make more effective decisions about how best to serve women and their children, it should emphasize data and results in the allocation of federal funding through the development of a Women and Families Innovation Initiative.

For more information, visit our website, and click here to read Part One: Lifting Up Policy Ideas for the Next Administration and the Next Congress written by Nicole Truhe. Also, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get the latest updates on our engagement efforts.

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