Monday, June 7, 2010

Addressing the Needs of Disconnected Youth

The Urban Institute recently released a report addressing promising strategies in youth development, employment and education policy for disadvantaged youth; Improving Education and Employment for Disadvantaged Young Men: Proven and Promising Strategies. The report begins by outlining the problems faced by disconnected youth stating that:
  • Employment rates among less-educated young men, especially young African American men, have declined sharply in recent years.
  • There was no net gain in employment for U.S. teens and young adults over 2000-2007.
  • U.S. teens and young adults have been the largest net losers of jobs in the labor market downturn that began in 2007.
  • During the same time that their labor force participation rates have dwindled, incarceration rates among young men have risen dramatically.
  • At any point in time, large numbers of these young men are "disconnected" from both school and work.
While the report begins by outlining the problems experienced by disadvantaged young men, the bulk of the work is about assessing promising and proven strategies for reconnecting young people to school, work and supportive relationships. While the report discusses programs and policies that are showing some promising trends (but that still require more evaluation), they primarily focus on interventions that have proven to be effective (or ineffective) through rigorous evaluation.

The report considers the scale at which the efforts suggested should be administered, the level of government that would be responsible for implementation, and how to ensure accountability and performance incentives. For policymakers this report provides cost-effective strategies for addressing the needs of a community’s youth – which in turn addresses some of the economic impact experienced in states due to an increasing loss of youth employment.

For More Information on
Improving Job Training.

For More Information on Expanding Work Support Benefits.