Nearly 6.5 million U.S. teens and young adults, ages 16 to 24, are neither in school nor in the workforce. The latest KIDS COUNT policy report, published in December 2012 by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, provides new national and state data on this population and examines the best practices to promote success for all young people.
U.S. youth employment rates are at a record low. Additionally, studies show that fewer than half of U.S. high school students graduate on time and prepared for college. In 2011, 26 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds and 61 percent of young adults ages 20 to 24 were employed. When young people are both out of school and out of work, a population referred to as “disconnected youth” throughout the report, they miss key chances to gain the experience and skills they need to compete in a 21st-century economy. This poses challenges for long-term financial stability and creates significant costs for taxpayers, as government spends more to support disconnected youth. One study estimates that for each disconnected 16-year-old, the future lifetime taxpayer burden is $258,040.
The report includes the latest youth employment data for every state and the nation and finds that employment rates vary significantly among states, ranging from a low of 18 percent in California and Florida and a high of 46 percent in North Dakota.
The report concludes with recommendations for policymakers, communities, employers and other stakeholders to reengage disconnected youth. It also advocates creating job experience opportunities for youth in school via community service, internships and summer and part-time work.
On Dec. 3, The Annie E. Casey Foundation hosted a policy forum to launch the report. View an archive of that report starting on Dec. 4 here.
Journalists can access the report and request an interview with experts. Contact Sue Lin Chong, (410) 223-2836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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