A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation suggests an entire generation of young Tar Heels is aging with limited work experience or job-readiness skills.
Last year, nearly 6.5 million American teens and young adults ages 16 to 24 were disconnected, that is they were not enrolled in school while also unemployed. In North Carolina, about one in every five young people in that age group were disconnected.
“Far too many of our young people are not in school, not working, and have few employment prospects placing them at risk of chronic underemployment and reduced financial stability later in life,” said Deborah Bryan, President & CEO of Action for Children North Carolina. “The potential economic and social cost of youths’ lack of access to employment extends well beyond the lives of those young people affected; it undermines our state’s ability to achieve a prosperous future.”
According to the Casey Foundation, only 41 percent of North Carolina’s young people were employed in 2011, compared to 60 percent in 2000.
The report emphasizes the need to reengage high school dropouts and provide multiple pathways for disconnected younger workers to build their job-readiness skills. Advocates at Action for Children North Carolina note that when young people have no connection to school or jobs, government spends more to support them.
The entire report Youth and Work can be viewed online here. To view disconnected youth by race, click the image below.