Candidate Opportunity Profile: Hillary Clinton

This is the second in a series of three posts on the remaining presidential candidates that profiles their Opportunity Youth agendas.

Six months before she was a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton helped launch the Grads of Life campaign. “Creating more opportunities for America’s youth to enter and prosper in the economy is one of my key priorities,” she announced at the Clinton Global Initiative. Since then, she has campaigned across the country championing her vision for America and detailing what precisely she would do as president to create more opportunities for America’s youth. Among the 30 issues listed on her campaign website are proposed programs such as The New College Compact and reforms to the criminal justice system and the workforce.

Closing the Opportunity Divide

In February, the former Secretary of State announced a sweeping economic agenda aimed at closing the Opportunity Divide.  The “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda” aspires to break down all barriers that hold Americans back and build ladders of opportunity for all people.

Economic Revitalization Initiative

Secretary Clinton has proposed a $125 billion initiative to create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect housing to communities that have become “opportunity deserts.”  As part of that $125 billion, she would invest $20 billion to support local youth programs; $5 billion in reentry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals; $25 billion to support small businesses in underserved communities; $50 billion to create an Infrastructure Opportunity Fund; and $25 billion in a housing investment program.

In order to direct more federal resources to at-risk communities, Secretary Clinton would leverage bold investments and new partnerships she believes would create millions of youth jobs in hard-hit communities.  By expanding programs that work; expanding job training and apprenticeships; and expanding pathways from skills development to work, Clinton hopes to create millions of new career opportunities that would increase employability skills for opportunity youth and enhance economic prosperity for businesses.

Equally important for Clinton is the need to reform the criminal justice system.  As president, Clinton would take executive action to “ban the box” for federal employers and contractors.  She would also provide mentoring for entrepreneurs in underserved communities and expand and make permanent tax credits for employers that provide private investments to communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment.

Workforce and Skills

Secretary Clinton believes that every American should be able to learn the skills they need to compete and succeed in the labor market.  As president, Clinton has promised to offer incentives to businesses to invest in their workers and provide on-the-job-training; provide tax credits for businesses that create apprenticeships that lead to jobs; and expand programs that allow federal student aid to be used for career and lifelong learning.

Opportunity Agenda Takeaways

As a presidential candidate, Clinton has provided an exhaustive list of policies, proposals, and programs she believes would help “opportunity deserts,” communities that have been cut off from jobs, investment, and hope.  She proposes to pay for the investments in her Economic Revitalization Initiative through a tax on Wall Street.

In a presidential debate in February, Clinton started her opening statement by saying: “I’m running for president to knock down all the barriers that are holding Americans back, and to rebuild the ladders of opportunity that will give every American a chance to advance, especially those who have been left out and left behind.”  While Clinton has had to fight off criticism that a majority of the American public finds her dishonest and untrustworthy, she seems to have decided that tackling inequality of opportunity is her best path to the White House.


The GradsofLifeVoice Forbes team provides thought leadership, research and expert commentary on innovative talent pipelines and related issues such as the skills gap, income inequality, workforce diversity, and the business case for employment pathways. We seek to change employers’ perceptions of young adults with atypical resumes from social liabilities to economic assets. This post was originally featured here.


Government/Policy, Workforce Development,
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