New KIDS COUNT Policy Report on Youth, Work and Opportunity
All young people deserve the opportunity to enter adulthood with the tools needed to become productive members of their communities. However, in the United States, 6.5 million 16- to 24-year-olds are jobless and out of school. Known as disconnected youth, these young people encounter many obstacles to long-term success. For example, many do not graduate from high school on time, and, when they do, they are not prepared for college-level study, limiting their skills and employment options. Many also contend with hurdles beyond their control, such as growing up in poverty, having few working adults as role models, attending low-performing schools, becoming young parents and living with a single parent.
The lack of education, opportunity and connection to school or work has long-term implications for their financial stability as adults and can present significant costs to taxpayers, as government spends more to support them. Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity — a new policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation — emphasizes the need to provide multiple, flexible pathways to success for disconnected young people and find ways to reengage high-school dropouts. The report also advocates creating experiences that allow youth to gain early job skills through community service, internships, summer and part-time work and other opportunities. Download the report featuring new data and recommendations from the Casey Foundation.
Youth Employment Differs Across States
* Montana youth employement rate is 31-38%.
The U.S. youth employment rates for both 16- to 19-year-olds and 20- to 24-year-olds have dropped to lows not seen in more than 50 years. Jobs going overseas; older, experienced workers competing for available jobs; and the limited skills and education of youth all contribute to this phenomenon. In 2011, 26 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds and 61 percent of young adults ages 20 to 24 were employed. Youth employment rates in 2011 vary significantly by state, ranging from a low of 18 percent in California and Florida to a high of 46 percent in North Dakota.