A new study finds that American teens are finding it increasingly difficult to find work—creating a generation of disconnected youth. The Annie E. Casey Foundation estimates that almost 6.5 million teens are out of work and are not attending school.
The troubling numbers are even more pronounced among Latino and black teens ages 16 to 19–about 16 percent of whom are not working or in school. About 11 percent of white youth are in the same position. Among youth ages 20 to 24, about 23 percent of Latino young people are not in school or working–compared with 17 percent of white young people in the same age range.
The report provides state-by-state data breakdowns, which is useful because the percentages vary quite a bit depending on where you live in the country.
In the report “Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity,” the foundation suggests that a number of steps can be taken to combat the growing crisis. They include creating a national youth employment strategy, aligning resources among public and private funders, and encouraging employers to sponsor “earn and learn programs.” The organization wants to encourage collaboration between government, philanthropy and communities to make a change.
An article in The Los Angeles Times highlights one program that is working to reverse the numbers. Backed by $13 million in federal funding, the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District have partnered to offer education and job training at 13 youth centers throughout the city.
Are there any efforts under way in your community to combat this problem?