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restoring teen and young adult
connections to opportunity


                                 The Annie E. Casey Foundation
               AbOUT THe            The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates         KIDS COUNT®, a project of the Annie
               ANNIe e. CASeY       better futures for the nation’s children by   E. Casey Foundation, is a national and
               FOUNDATION           strengthening families, building paths to     state-by-state effort to track the status of
               AND KIDS COUNT       economic opportunity and transforming         children in the United States and to equip
                                    struggling communities into safer and         policymakers and advocates with the best
                                    healthier places to live, work and grow.      available data to make better decisions to
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                                                                                  of the condition of children. For more
                                                                                  information, and to get the best available
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Additional data and copies
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                           YOUTH AND WORK
                           restoring teen and young adult
                           connections to opportunity

                 Forty years ago, a teenager leaving high school—with or
                 without a diploma—could find a job in a local factory. Twenty
                 years ago, even as manufacturing jobs moved offshore,
                 young people could still gain a foothold in the workforce
                 through neighborhood stores and restaurants. Amid the
                 housing boom of the past decade, youth with some training
                 could find a career track in the construction field. but
                 today—with millions of jobs lost and experienced workers
                 scrambling for every available position—America’s young
                 people stand last in line for jobs.

YOUTH AND WORK             The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |        1
    Youth employment is at its lowest level              This policy report describes the scale
    since World War II; only about half of           of the challenges we face in connecting
    young people ages 16 to 24 held jobs in          young people, ages 16 to 24, to jobs
    2011.1 Among the teens in that group,            and opportunity. More importantly, we
    only 1 in 4 is now employed, compared to         also set forth the steps needed to ensure
    46 percent in 2000. Overall, 6.5 million         that young people have the academic
    people ages 16 to 24 are both out of school      know-how, the technical skills and the
    and out of work, statistics that suggest dire    essential “soft skills” to hold a job and
    consequences for financial stability and         launch a career. The best way to build
    employment prospects in that population.2        these critical skills is to help young
        More and more doors are closing for          people find jobs or work-like activities.
    these young people. Entry-level jobs at          We must expand interventions that are
    fast-food restaurants and clothing stores        putting youth to work and align them
    that high school dropouts once could             with public investment.
    depend on to start their careers now go to           Research demonstrates a positive
    older workers with better experience and         return on investment for programs that
    credentials. It often takes a GED to get a       advance academic, social and career
    job flipping hamburgers. Even some with          skills. And, practical experience tells us
    college degrees are having trouble finding       that some young people show extraordi-
    work. At this rate, a generation will            nary motivation and responsibility when
    grow up with little early work experience,       given the right opportunities. This report
    missing the chance to build knowledge            details the most recent research and
    and the job-readiness skills that come           data illustrating conditions for the 16-
    from holding part-time and starter jobs.         to 24-year-old population and focuses
        This waste of talent and earnings poten-     specifically on those youth who are
    tial has profound consequences for these         neither in school nor working. It identifies
    young people, and for our economy and our        barriers these young people must overcome
    nation. When young people lack connec-           and offers solutions to get them engaged
    tions to jobs and school, government spends      and connected.
    more to support them. Many already have              The core argument is that business,
    children of their own, exacerbating the          government, philanthropy and com-
    intergenerational cycle of poverty in some       munities must come together to create
    communities. Yet even as young people            opportunities to put young people
    struggle to gain experience and find any         back on track in a dynamic, advancing
    type of job, businesses cannot find the          economy to ensure their success and
    skilled workers they need to compete in the      to build a stronger workforce for
    ever-changing 21st-century economy.              the future.

2   The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |   kids count policy report 
             FIGURe 1

            Disconnected Youth: 2011
            Young people out of school and out of work have been characterized in various ways—as disconnected, vulnerable or opportunity youth.
            In this report, we describe them as disconnected youth. The data show that the populations struggling the most to enter the workforce
            and stay in school today are youth who are less educated, come from low-income families and belong to a racial or ethnic minority.

          DISCONNeCTeD YOUTH AGeS 16 TO 19                                                                              DISCONNeCTeD YOUNG ADUlTS AGeS 20 TO 24
          bY RACe AND HISpANIC ORIGIN                                                                                   bY RACe AND HISpANIC ORIGIN

          National Average
                                          13     %
                                                                                 2,189,000 YOutH                        National Average
                                                                                                                                                                20        %
                                                                                                                                                                                            4,310,000 YOuNg ADults

          Non-Hispanic White
                                       11     %
                                                                                 1,090,000 YOutH                        Non-Hispanic White
                                                                                                                                                            17       %
                                                                                                                                                                                            2,182,000 YOuNg ADults
          African American
                                         16           %
                                                                                   400,000 YOutH                        African American
                                                                                                                                                                              29     %
                                                                                                                                                                                              865,000 YOuNg ADults
          Asian and Pacific
          Islander                     12      %
                                                                                      74,000 YOutH
                                                                                                                        Asian and Pacific
                                                                                                                        Islander                        14      %
                                                                                                                                                                                              128,000 YOuNg ADults
                                         16           %
                                                                                    533,000 YOutH                       Hispanic
                                                                                                                                                                    23         %
                                                                                                                                                                                              973,000 YOuNg ADults
                                         16           %
                                                                                      92,000 YOutH                      Other
                                                                                                                                                                     27             %
                                                                                                                                                                                              162,000 YOuNg ADults

          DISCONNeCTeD YOUTH AGeS 16 TO 19                                                                              DISCONNeCTeD YOUNG ADUlTS AGeS 20 TO 24
          bY FAmIlY INCOme                                                                                              bY FAmIlY INCOme

                                                     Youth living in families with incomes                                                                       Young adults living in families with
                                                     below $20,000 are experiencing the
                                                     most disconnection—2.5 times that of
                                                                                                                           30      %
                                                                                                                                                                 incomes below $20,000 are 3 times
                                                                                                                                                                 as likely to be disconnected as young
                                                     youth in the highest-income families.                                                                       adults in the highest-income families.

                                                                                                                                            23     %

              21     %

                                                                                                                                                            17      %
                                                                                                                                                                               16       %
                              15     %
                                                                                                                                                                                                 14   %
                                               13     %

                                                                11    %
                                                                                                                                                                                                            10    %
                                                                                  9   %
                                                                                                   8  %

               uNDer          $20,000 –        $40,000 –       $60,000 –        $75,000 –        $100,000                    uNDer          $20,000 –       $40,000 –          $60,000 –        $75,000 –   $100,000
              $20,000          $39,999          $59,999         $74,999          $99,999         Or mOre                    $20,000          $39,999         $59,999            $74,999          $99,999    Or mOre

       SOURCeS Andrew Sum's analyses of 2011 Current population Survey basic monthly data, U.S. Census bureau data and bureau of labor Statistics data. estimates represent 12-month averages.

YOUTH AND WORK                                                            The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                                                                                               3
        TAble 1

       employed Youth and Young Adults: 2011
       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. State-by-state employment rates vary significantly,
       ranging from 18 percent to 46 percent for teens and from 51 percent to 75 percent for young adults.

                                   Ages 16 to 19                         Ages 20 to 24                                                       Ages 16 to 19                          Ages 20 to 24

State                           Number        Percent                  Number       Percent               State                            Number       Percent                   Number       Percent

united states               4,404,000              26             13,037,000             61               missouri                        96,000             32                 267,000             67
Alabama                         68,000             26                169,000             57               montana                          17,000            37                  48,000             62
Alaska                          15,000             32                 35,000             67               Nebraska                        44,000             43                  92,000             74
Arizona                         87,000             24                271,000             60               Nevada                           37,000            27                 116,000             64
Arkansas                        43,000             33                133,000             65               New Hampshire                   25,000             35                  64,000             72
California                    375,000              18              1,572,000             56               New Jersey                     102,000             21                 360,000             59
Colorado                        78,000             30                223,000             68               New mexico                      25,000             25                  84,000             59
Connecticut                     60,000             29                145,000             61               New York                       218,000             21                 756,000             53
Delaware                        16,000             30                  31,000            61               North Carolina                  99,000             20                 372,000             58
District of Columbia             3,000             14                  31,000            57               North Dakota                     17,000            46                  41,000             75
Florida                       159,000              18                675,000             59               Ohio                           226,000             35                 518,000             66
georgia                        107,000             19                364,000             55               Oklahoma                        52,000             28                 164,000             64
Hawaii                          14,000             22                 60,000             65               Oregon                          54,000             28                 160,000             63
Idaho                           23,000             28                 62,000             64               Pennsylvania                   274,000             39                 546,000             62
Illinois                      189,000              28                590,000             60               rhode Island                    20,000             32                  47,000             65
Indiana                       104,000              27                272,000             60               south Carolina                  62,000             27                 182,000             55
Iowa                            68,000             43                154,000             71               south Dakota                     19,000            44                  46,000             69
Kansas                          51,000             36                138,000             71               tennessee                       74,000             23                 241,000             60
Kentucky                        61,000             27                188,000             61               texas                          339,000             24               1,103,000             63
louisiana                       62,000             23                181,000             56               utah                            55,000             35                 152,000             71
maine                           27,000             39                 55,000             64               Vermont                          12,000            38                  30,000             69
maryland                        87,000             29                261,000             68               Virginia                       132,000             30                 368,000             65
massachusetts                 128,000              33                277,000             60               Washington                      88,000             24                 246,000             60
michigan                      174,000              29                403,000             59               West Virginia                    21,000            22                  65,000             55
minnesota                     122,000              42                263,000             74               Wisconsin                      122,000             42                 285,000             73
mississippi                     44,000             23                 99,000             51               Wyoming                          11,000            38                  28,000             70

SOURCeS population Reference bureau's analyses of 2011 Current population Survey basic monthly data, U.S. Census bureau data and bureau of labor Statistics data. estimates represent 12-month averages.

4                                                                       The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                           kids count policy report 
OUT OF SCHOOl AND OUT OF WORK                  21-year-old parent who has a high school
                                               degree and has been looking for work for
The past decade has been the most chal-        a long time. They live at home in urban,
lenging in 50 years for young people           suburban or rural communities; in foster
seeking to navigate the transition to adult-   care; or in juvenile justice settings. They
hood, earn a degree, get a job and stand       include U.S. citizens and recently arrived
on their own financially. The employment       immigrants. Many of these youth must
rate for youth ages 16 to 19 dropped           overcome challenges beyond their control,
precipitously — down 42 percent since          such as a childhood spent in poverty,
2000. More youth than ever — 2.2 million       living with a single parent, growing up in
teenagers and 4.3 million young adults         a household or neighborhood with few role
ages 20 to 24 — are neither in school nor      models of working adults and attending
working.3 Additionally, 21 percent —           low-performing schools.9
1.4 million— of those young people out             Although the employment rate fell
of school and out of work are young            significantly for all young people, the data
parents who must take care of their own        show that those populations struggling           To get a job these days,
needs and those of their children.4            most have less education, come from low-
    Why are so many youth disconnected?        income families and belong to a racial or
                                                                                                you need experience,
There are fewer jobs today,5 and employers     ethnic minority. Fewer than 1 in 6 black         but you can’t get
are demanding higher skills in a labor         and Asian teenagers and 1 in 5 Hispanic
market transformed by globalization and        teens were employed in 2011, with ratios
                                                                                                experience without
technology.6 Also, fewer than half of our      even worse for black and Asian males.10          a job. For youth
high school students graduate on time and          In addition, youth employment rates
are ready for college.7 Young people with      vary significantly by state, from 18 percent
                                                                                                from disadvantaged
limited education and job-readiness skills     in California and Florida to 46 percent in       backgrounds, the
find fewer employment opportunities. This      North Dakota in 2011.
is especially true of those from low-income
                                                                                                challenges can be
families and living in high-poverty com-       THe lASTING CONSeQUeNCeS                         even greater.
munities. Even among low-income students
who do go on to college, the majority do       Studies show that youth who miss out             James A. Johns, who hires youth
not complete a degree.8                        on an early work experience are more             as interns at The Johns Hopkins
    Young people out of school and out         likely to endure later unemployment and          University in partnership with Year Up
of work have been characterized in vari-       less likely to achieve higher levels of career
ous ways — as disconnected, vulnerable         attainment. Everyone needs opportunities
or opportunity youth. In this report, we       in their teen years and young adulthood
describe them as disconnected youth. The       to experience work and attain the job-
term encompasses diverse groups, ranging       readiness skills needed for long-term
from the 16-year-old who just dropped out      success.11 Those shut out of the labor
of high school and is not working to the       market for considerable periods, especially

YOUTH AND WORK                                 The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                                            5
    in the early stages of their careers, have       unemployed individuals who have not
    markedly reduced prospects for later con-        completed high school.15 America is losing
    nections to jobs.12                              ground to other countries in producing
        As a result, the severity of the current     more educated and skilled workers.16 This
    downturn and the jobless recovery are            critical mismatch must be addressed now to
    likely to have deep and long-term economic       increase our nation’s future competitiveness.
    effects on both society and young people,            One silver lining is that as prospects
    particularly disconnected youth. One study       for work have diminished, more youth are
    estimates that for each 16-year-old out of       staying in high school and enrolling in
    school and out of work, the future lifetime      college. School enrollment rates for teens
    taxpayer burden is $258,040. The same            ages 16 to 19 rose from 79 percent in 2000
    study calculates that the total taxpayer         to 85 percent in 2011. For young adults
    burden for all out-of-school and out-of-         ages 20 to 24, rates rose from 31 percent
    work youth ages 16 to 24 is $1.56 trillion.13    to 38 percent.17 Yet while these rates have
    It is not surprising that commentators have      improved overall, African-American,
    begun to speak with despair of a generation      Latino and Native-American young adults
    essentially cut off from the normal flow         are still substantially less likely to graduate
    of economic progress at a pivotal point          than their white and Asian peers.18
    in their lives.                                      Another modest bright spot is that
        Part of the challenge for young people       despite the economic hardship, many
    seeking employment is the gap between            young people remain optimistic about their
    their skills and the qualifications needed       futures. In large numbers, these youth say
    for available positions. Well-paying jobs        they hope to complete college and move
    being created in this economy increasingly       on to successful careers. They recognize the
    require more skills and experience and,          challenges they face, yet seem resilient and
    thus, go not to youth, but to older workers      fully willing to face them. Taylor Frome,
    with better qualifications. More than            founder of the YESPhilly youth center in
    three-quarters of job openings in the next       Philadelphia, sees this among the young
    decade will require skills obtained beyond       people she serves daily. Many tell her they
    high school.14 A recent report from the          dropped out of high school because they
    McKinsey Global Institute found that             lost interest in academics or got caught
    despite current high levels of unemploy-         fighting. Yet, she finds them serious and
    ment, 30 percent of American companies           motivated about their coursework now.
    had positions open for more than six                 “They know that dropping out of school
    months that they could not fill. McKinsey        is not going to work for them,” says Frome.
    predicts that by 2020, the United States         “They’ve developed some level of maturity
    will fall short of workers with college          and some insight about themselves. We
    and graduate degrees by 1.5 million, but         have few discipline problems; we have few
    will have a surplus of nearly 6 million          attitude problems.”

6   The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |   kids count policy report 
THe CHAlleNGe OF                                  often invisible participants. Of the nearly
ReCONNeCTING YOUTH                                $6 billion allocated in the 2012 federal
                                                  budget for U.S. Department of Labor
Policymakers have focused on discon-              employment programs,20 very little is tar-
nected youth on and off for almost five           geted to serve out-of-school, disconnected
decades, starting with the Summer Youth           youth. Public funding is generally frag-
Employment Program, Job Corps and the             mented and often aimed at adults, rather
Neighborhood Youth Corps of the 1960s.            than at young people building skills to
More recently, the federal government has         move into the workforce. The $824 million
launched demonstration programs focusing          in federal support for youth employment
on this population. Many of these efforts         programs21—the principal resource for
have been marked by heightened interest,          disconnected youth—has never come close
visibility, commitment and innovation             to meeting the need. High school dropouts
across systems. Yet, these efforts have failed    compose one-quarter of the participants
to achieve the political constituency and         in youth employment programs in the sys-
funding necessary to build and sustain the        tem. But the limited dollars serve less than
systems and partnerships needed.                  1 percent of the eligible population.22
    Why? The central answer is this: Recon-           We should be investing a larger portion
necting youth to education and employment         of the available funding — plus attracting
requires a multifaceted approach. No one          new sources of investment — to reconnect
system or sector can do it alone, and a range     these youth to education and training
of organizations and agencies must play an        pathways that prepare them for jobs and
important role. But the various systems—          economic success. And we should align
workforce, K–12 schools, career and               goals, eligibility criteria and performance
technical education, higher education, child      measures to improve efficiency and effec-
welfare, juvenile justice and community           tiveness across various funding streams.
development—often have conflicting
priorities, target populations and metrics        THe SOlUTION: CReATING
for success. Despite rhetorical and legislative   mUlTIple pATHS TO SUCCeSS
language encouraging cross-disciplinary
and cross-system approaches, funding              Young people need multiple and flexible
streams and programs remain largely               pathways to success that meet their varied       Reconnecting youth
categorical and fragmented.                       needs—combining education, training and          to education and
    Consider the education field. We know         supportive services, plus strong relationships
that education credentials and connection         with adults.23 Emerging research on brain        employment requires a
to the labor market are crucial to economic       development has shown that adolescents’          multifaceted approach.
success. The lifetime earnings of a high          brains are still developing through early
school dropout are estimated to be $400,000       adulthood. In their transition to adulthood,     No one system or sector
less than those of a high school graduate.19      young people need positive work experiences      can do it alone, and a
Yet, the path for youth through education         early on to develop self-management skills
systems and to the workplace is often limited     to meet the day-to-day demands of family,        range of organizations
to a narrow route in a single system.             work and community. For young people             and agencies must play
    Disconnected young people often               to thrive, especially those who are most
lack the support for making the transition        vulnerable, they need a network of resources     an important role.
from high school to college. Even students        to tap into, as well as supportive adult
who earn a high school diploma or a GED           relationships in their lives.24
can find themselves mired in remedial                 Several local communities are pull-
programs in community colleges. They              ing resources together across systems and
burn through any financial aid — if they          sectors to get youth in high-poverty com-
are able to get it — on classes that do not       munities re-engaged and onto pathways
bring any college credit.                         to success, despite the limited federal
    Many youth will forego college and seek       funds focused specifically on disconnected
to enter the workforce directly. But in the       youth.25 Some states and school districts
workforce system, disconnected youth are          have developed ways for school systems to

YOUTH AND WORK                                    The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                             7
                                           devote per-pupil expenditures to create                       the lack of jobs in the private sector, youth
                                           community-based and back-on-track                             participating in school or other public
                                           options that re-engage dropouts.26 Project                    systems — including foster care and juvenile
                                           U-Turn in Philadelphia, a program sup-                        justice — should be provided with subsi-
                                           ported by the local school system, has                        dized work and/or work-like activities such
                                           created a customized pathway that allows                      as community service. Providers running
                                           older teens with fewer academic credits to                    youth programs should also be encouraged
                                           earn a high school diploma or GED.                            to hire young people.
                                              Yet, in the end, work itself is the stron-
                                           gest and most effective “program.” Early                      TAKING ACTION: HelpING
                                           job experience increases the likelihood of                    DISCONNeCTeD YOUTH
                                           more work in the future,27 as well as more                    GeT bACK ON TRACK
                                           employer-sponsored education.28 A con-
                                           tinuum of work experiences from the teen                      Local and national conversations —
                                           years onward — including volunteer and                        advanced by the White House Council
                                           community service, summer and part-time                       for Community Solutions — are already
                                           jobs, work-study experiences, internships                     under way about the depth and urgency of
                                           and apprenticeships — build job-readiness                     the youth unemployment crisis. National
                                           skills, knowledge and confidence. These                       advocacy groups such as Opportunity
                                           encompass not just workplace and financial                    Nation, the Aspen Forum for Community
                                           skills, but also the broader “soft skills” of                 Solutions, the Forum for Youth Investment,
                                           taking responsibility and initiative, work-                   Young Invincibles and the Campaign
                                           ing in teams, focusing on problem-solving                     for Youth29 have made disconnected
                                           and learning how to contribute. Despite                       youth and the need for collective solutions

        CASe STUDY

       In the south Bronx: A Pathway to success

    When it takes a high school di-        shore up underlying academic and                 workers and visiting them at
    ploma to get a job flipping burgers,   job-readiness skills.                            their workplace.
    where does that leave the high             If the students go on to com-                    The youth center is one of
    school dropout? That’s the ques-       munity college, then the youth                   eight organizations that form the
    tion the FeGS bronx Youth Center       center provides an advisor who                   bronx Opportunity Network, which
    is striving to answer. The program     can help them navigate the                       connects young people to work
    serves 800 young people in the         system and connect them to study                 and postsecondary education. The
    South bronx who are trying to con-     sessions and tutors. The center                  organizations provided intensive
    nect to school and work.               also directs students to subsidized              academic programs in the summer
        many of the students have          internships, where they can                      of 2011 and tracked the students’
    dropped out of high school and         gain valuable experience working                 progress. Of the 105 students who
    want to earn a GeD so that they        at a business. philanthropic and                 went to community college that
    can get a job. The youth center        government grants subsidize their                fall, 83 percent continued into the
    helps them prepare for the equiva-     pay, and the center’s advisors                   spring semester. Collectively, they
    lency exam and, when necessary,        continue meeting with the young                  earned 309 credits.

8                                          The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                kids count policy report 
their top priorities. The following recom-       Demonstration programs that follow
mendations seek to build on this national        youth from high school through college
momentum and respond to the challenge            and into the job market will help build a
of getting disconnected youth on track           path to improving results, which is critical
toward economic success. Three principles        to justifying expanded investments in
are implicit in these recommendations.           the most effective strategies.
    First, the voices of young people must
be an essential part of the work going           1. For national policymakers: Develop
forward. Where successfully engaged —            a national youth employment strategy
such as on youth leadership boards in the        The problems facing young people discon-
15 sites of the Jim Casey Youth Opportu-         nected from opportunity and financial
nities Initiative, which helps foster youth      success — and the implications of those
transition successfully to adulthood and         problems for the nation as a whole — call
build financial independence — young             for an ambitious, focused national effort.
people have been valuable in guiding             The scope of the challenge demands a
decision makers about their families and         unified strategy that mobilizes public           It used to be that high
the needs in their communities. Young            and private institutions, secures adequate
people need to design what works for             funding and ensures effective, account-
                                                                                                  school dropouts could
them, and they can provide crucial advice        able programming. Such a national                at least find entry-level
on how to do that effectively.                   strategy must encompass philanthropic
    Second, the population data tell us that     organizations, nonprofits, government
                                                                                                  jobs. Now, even the
black, Hispanic, male and low-income             and especially business leaders, who need        local mcDonald’s is
youth are experiencing the greatest difficulty   prepared and skilled workers most acutely.
in achieving early success in the workplace.     Drawing from the lessons of previous
                                                                                                  requiring a GeD. We
Closing racial and economic disparities          efforts, the strategy should include policies    have a generation of
must be a central focus of strategies for        that do the following:
building youth economic success. To that
                                                                                                  young adults who are
end, it is imperative that solutions—such as     – Promote adequate and flexible funding          growing up without
the Campaign for Black Male Achievement          that follows youth across systems, even
that promotes education and skill building       those out of school;
                                                                                                  any work experience.
for work, leadership development and             – Identify and provide enhanced support          Courtney Hawkins, vice president
responsible fatherhood30—are tailored to         for disconnected youth populations,              of the FeGS bronx Youth Center
diverse youth populations and connected          including young parents;
to the systems and institutions that have        – Link funding to more meaningful
impeded this success.                            outcomes—for example, degree or credential
    And finally, our work going forward          attainment, rather than enrollment;
must rely on the best possible information,      employment, rather than training—so that
data and evaluation. Continuing to build         the focus is on accountability, performance
evidence on what works will be essential.        and results, not process;

YOUTH AND WORK                                   The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                                      9
     – Streamline systems, such as creating           public and private stakeholders at the
     more efficient and accessible financial          community level is crucial. The lessons of
     aid programs;                                    the federally sponsored Youth Opportunity
     – Create incentives—such as a youth              Grant Initiative, as well as efforts in several
     payroll tax credit—to encourage more             leading cities designed in collaboration
     businesses to hire young people and to           with mayors, provide clear guidance for
     inspire youth to stay engaged; and               how such initiatives can succeed. Local
     – Track outcomes across systems so               education agencies and the workforce
     that programs can prioritize the needs           community must partner to create
     and progress of disconnected youth               support networks and avenues to help
     in education and work.                           youth complete high school, build skills
                                                      and obtain jobs and careers. To build these
     With several major federal agency pro-           partnerships, community organizations
     grams up for reauthorization, such as the        need to work with the private sector,
     Career and Technical Education Act and           as well as design programs that align the
     the Workforce Investment Act,31 now is the       use of funds, enrollment and eligibility
     time to work together to align goals and         criteria, performance measures and
     create new youth incentives for skill build-     reporting requirements.32
     ing and job creation in both the public              Several examples of local partnerships
     and private sectors. Additionally, broader       provide encouraging signs. National
     national policies related to reforming our       organizations such as Jobs for the Future,
     tax, budget and fiscal policy and promot-        the National League of Cities and Center
     ing economic growth need to be carefully         for Law and Social Policy are helping
     assessed in terms of their overall effect on     local communities to build cross-sector
     job creation and opportunities for youth.        partnerships that are navigating such
                                                      complex public systems as child welfare
     2. For communities and funders:                  and juvenile justice. A number of cities
     Align resources for collective results           and states have created intermediaries
     At the community level, disconnected             or collaboratives — Philadelphia Youth
     young people have historically relied            Network, San Diego Workforce Partner-
     on little more than a collection of public       ship, JobsFirst NYC and the Maine
     and nonprofit agencies, or stand-alone           Youth Transition Collaborative — that
     programs, all supported by a fragmented          demonstrate how such partnerships can
     array of funding sources. The result,            align goals and achieve them. Additionally,
     not surprisingly, is a lack of coordinated       the newly launched Aspen Forum
     attention to the overall needs of a com-         for Community Solutions will provide
     munity’s population.                             $5 million to $10 million in incentive
        The development of strong, youth-             funds for cross-sector partnerships across
     focused collaborative efforts with multiple      the country next year.

10   The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |   kids count policy report 
           FIGURE 2

          Creating Multiple Pathways to Success                                            work exPerience                       community SuPPortS
                                                                                         Work experience can help youth          Community supports are
          Young people need multiple and flexible pathways to achieve                    build skills and can open up            needed to help youth get back
          credentials, employment and economic success—combining                         valuable opportunities as youth         on track; stay on track; and
          work experience, education, training and supports.                             prepare for work and a career.          get help navigating school,
                                                                                                                                 work and community.

                                                                                             enter HigH ScHooL

          Youth who drop out of                 Leave                                               HigH ScHooL
          high school can pursue                HigH ScHooL
                                                                                                                                     academic tutoring
          alternative education
          and career opportunities.             £ cuStomized training                      £ Summer joB
                                                                                                                                     LeaderSHiP deveLoPment
                                                £ Part-time joB                            £ community Service
            re-engagement centerS
                                                £ conServation corPS                       £ internSHiP                              mentoring and navigation
            Back-on-track oPtionS
                                                                                                                                     coLLege PreP/duaL enroLLment
            earn/Learn ProgramS                 earn ged                                            graduate
                                                or diPLoma                                          HigH ScHooL

                                               not ready
          With college prep or bridge          for coLLege
          programs, youth can better
          prepare to be successful.
            coLLege Bridge courSeS              coLLege ready

            financiaL adviSing

            guidance counSeLing
                                                                                             enter PoStSecondary


                                           emPLoyer-BaSed                                           4-year or
                                           training                                                 community coLLege
                                                                                                                                     financiaL and HouSing aid
                                                £ aPPrenticeSHiP                           £ work-Study                              career navigation
                                                £ StackaBLe credentiaLS                    £ on-tHe-joB training
                                                £ joB readineSS                            £ Part-time joB                           SociaL networkS

                                                                                                                                     SuPPort of famiLy
                                           earn                                                     earn coLLege
                                           credentiaLS                                              degree

                                                                                                    Multiple and flexible pathways
                                                                                                    enable youth to enter the
                                                careerS and income                                  workforce with the necessary
                                                                                                    skills and education to obtain
                                                                                                    full-time work and careers.

YOUTH AND WORK                                     The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                                                                11
                                           3. For practitioners: Scale up successful                     for disconnected youth through service
                                           pathways to work and credentials                              in communities across the country.
                                           Through careful evaluation, we know                           Creating stronger attachment to the
                                           what works in helping disconnected                            surrounding community in work-related
                                           youth achieve economic success, from                          settings is an effective way for youth
                                           career academies to programs, such as                         to strengthen connections to work and
                                           the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe. A                         earn a modest income.34
                                           recent review of select program evaluations                       YouthBuild, Year Up and other initia-
                                           indicates that students can earn GEDs                         tives have shown success in combining
                                           and college credit as they achieve short-                     work, academic enrichment and training
                                           term income gains through programs that                       with ongoing support from coaches and
                                           provide adult mentorship, plus a mix of                       mentors. Though programs with multiple
                                           academic and occupational training, work                      components are generally more costly
                                           experience and supports.33 These initiatives                  to operate, they add value by providing
                                           offer rich lessons on building partnerships                   needed supports and connections to
                                           at the local level that link workforce and                    high-quality skills training, higher wage
                                           education priorities. We have also learned                    sectors and careers.35
                                           the importance of providing a full range                          Successful adult workforce programs
                                           of work experiences, from community                           could also be expanded to serve youth.
                                           service and internships to apprenticeships                    One national model for adults is the
                                           and year-round jobs.                                          National Fund for Workforce Solutions,
                                               Corporation for National and Commu-                       which has built funding and workforce
                                           nity Service programs, such as AmeriCorps,                    partnerships in more than 30 communi-
                                           could provide additional work opportunities                   ties and partnered with businesses ready

         CASe STUDY

        In los Angeles: A Young mom in school and Working

     Haydee Almanza didn’t think she           Almanza looked into several                  high school classes, alternating with
     would need a high school diploma      adult education programs, but                    eight-week blocks of paid, on-the-job
     when she dropped out at age 18.       found they cost too much money or                training. Almanza earned her high
     She didn’t think she’d need it when   made it hard to keep her job. Her                school diploma in four months and
     she found a steady job at a los       family didn’t believe she was seri-              is now in her second year at a com-
     Angeles clothing shop. It wasn’t      ous and wouldn’t support her. Then               munity college. She hopes to transfer
     until she had her first child at      she found a brochure for the los                 those credits to a four-year college
     21 that the reality hit her. “I       Angeles Conservation Corps.                      and study fine arts or sociology.
     wanted my son to have a parent            The program provides academic                    Almanza, who now has two
     with a high school diploma,” says     support, as well as employment                   children, also works part time for
     Almanza, now 25. “I wanted to         opportunities, for young people ages             the Conservation Corps, helping
     finish. I wanted him to know          18 to 24. Students in the Young Adult            to recruit students like herself
     what was possible.”                   Corps take eight-week blocks of                  into the program.

12                                         The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                kids count policy report 
to hire. These sites could expand to serve      people served and a positive return on
youth by offering new “earn/learn” initia-      investment. The bonds are purchased by
tives in specific industry sectors. Employers   financial investors seeking a monetary
already involved in these partnerships          return as well as social investors seeking
might be encouraged to expand their             a positive social impact.36
investments to serve young people and help         With continued evidence on what
address skill shortages that will emerge as     works for youth, now is the time to scale
older workers retire.                           up programs and practices that provide
    Importantly, postsecondary education        successful pathways to build skills, get
is now becoming more focused on work            jobs and begin careers.
and careers. Career pathway programs
that provide not only college credentials,      4. For public and private investors:
but also immediate connections to work          Support enterprise development that
experience are seeing promising results.        produces new jobs
Innovative community colleges and               Innovative approaches to job creation
other cross-sector collaboratives have          are essential in a time of slow job growth
widened the range of training and educa-        and government funding constraints.              With continued
tion in partnerships with community-based       Two options to explore are social enterprise     evidence on what
programs, especially with more vulnerable       and microenterprise. Social enterprises
populations, such as youth in foster            are organizations of any size that focus on      works for youth, now
care. These innovative partnerships include     creating jobs and generating revenue. They       is the time to scale
Washington state’s I-BEST Program,              often leverage private resources and public
which combines two teachers in the              subsidies to create jobs for people who have     up programs and
classroom — one teaching basic academic         difficulty in finding work. Microenterprises     practices that provide
skills and the other, industry skills — so      are very small businesses that generally
that students can advance in school and         have fewer than five employees. These            successful pathways
a career at the same time. Other examples       enterprises have historically benefited those    to build skills, get jobs
include Jobs for the Future’s Back on           populations who have not been served by
Track initiative, the Gateway to College        banks and traditional business assistance        and begin careers.
National Network and the National               programs, such as minority and women
Youth Employment Coalition’s post-              business owners.
secondary initiatives.                              Social enterprises often enter into
    We also need to consider innovative         commercial or government contracts for a
financing strategies to support these key       fee, in areas that range from landscaping
priorities. Minnesota, for example, passed      and neighborhood cleanup to facilities
the 2011 Minnesota Pay-for-Performance          management and retail sales. Social enter-
Act and authorizes $10 million in state         prises also support their employees to
appropriation bonds to fund human               ensure that they develop a full range of
services that achieve outcomes for the          workplace, personal and financial skills.

YOUTH AND WORK                                  The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                               13
                                      One of the largest organizations             very small business owners (called micro-
                                  focused on employment social enterprise          enterprise development organizations,
                                  is REDF, a nonprofit founded by George           or MDOs) had more than 350,000 par-
                                  Roberts of KKR. During the past 15 years,        ticipants. On average, these owners were
                                  San Francisco-based REDF has built               women, racial or ethnic minorities and
                                  social enterprises that have generated $120      workers with household incomes below
                                  million in revenues and 6,700 jobs. More         80 percent of the area’s median income. In
                                  than half of those hired were African            addition, the businesses achieved a positive
                                  American or Latino, and about 60 percent         return on investment and appeared to be
                                  were under age 25.37                             a cost-effective way to both create new jobs
                                      Other well-known social enterprise           and move people into the labor market,
                                  examples include Goodwill, which has             especially those who have faced barriers
                                  165 independent, community-based orga-           to entering the traditional workforce.
                                  nizations in the United States and Canada            Enterprise development could open
                                  that run more than 2,600 retail stores           up new avenues of public and private
                                  with donated goods. Goodwill earned              investment to help stimulate job
     Addressing the challenges    retail sales of $2.6 billion in 2011, which      creation — especially for young people.
     at hand—skills,              helped provide employment and skills
                                  training programs for 4.2 million people         5. For employers: Create career
     technology and               and job placements for 189,000.38                pathways and jobs for young people
     globalization—will               A few social enterprises focus solely        In many past initiatives, the role of the
                                  on youth workers. New Avenues for Youth,         private sector in youth policy has been
     require a vastly different   which owns and operates ice cream Part-          more symbolic than substantive. Address-
     scope of involvement         nerShops, works with Ben & Jerry’s in            ing the challenges at hand — skills,
                                  Portland, Oregon. Youth Venture — in             technology and globalization — will
     on the part of business      both New England and the San Francisco           require a vastly different scope of involve-
     leaders and expanded         area — has created teams of low-income           ment on the part of business leaders
                                  young people and provided them with the          and expanded public policy incentives.
     public policy incentives.    resources and mentors to lead their own          Expanding employment opportunities for
                                  social ventures. This momentum builds on         youth requires business partners willing
                                  the entrepreneurship classes and competi-        to develop talent and skills pipelines
                                  tions offered at many high schools and           for their competitive advantage.39 Busi-
                                  colleges across the country.                     nesses can build on the work of Corporate
                                      Microenterprises, on the other hand,         Voices for Working Families, Year Up
                                  have been an alternative path for individu-      and others,40 which are working to engage
                                  als to gain work and business experience         employers to help young people obtain
                                  and a way to grow household income.              skills and employment. These efforts
                                  In 2010, the Aspen Institute's FIELD             benefit businesses through employee
                                  estimated that practitioners serving these       retention, diversity and a talent pipeline.

14                                The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |   kids count policy report 
    That has been the experience at UPS,       provide access to in-home visits or early
which created the innovative Metropolitan      childhood programs.
College program in 1998 to bring new               We need to develop two-generation
workers into Worldport, its international      models that foster economic stability for
air hub in Louisville, Kentucky. The           the parents and positive early childhood
Metropolitan College program pays 100          development for their children. A parent
percent of the in-state, undergraduate         and young child can benefit from policies
tuition rate at the University of Louisville   such as those that help parents navigate
or Jefferson Community and Technical           the complexities of family, work and com-
College and $65 per class for textbooks.       munity and provide children with access
UPS, which receives a 50 percent state tax     to high-quality early care and education
credit for these expenses, funds the full      assistance. We don’t want parents to have
cost of academic bonuses for students who      to choose between going to school or work
reach certain milestones in their education.   and caring for their child.
    The city of Louisville and the colleges        The Annie E. Casey Foundation and
contribute funds for academic counseling       programs such as the Aspen Institute’s
and workforce development resources.           Ascend are working to help advance the
“This is good for students, but it also        field of two-generation interventions. We
helps us retain a reliable workforce of        need to promote policy reforms that help
part-time workers,” said Kelli Stamper,        organizations align resources and goals for
workforce development manager at the           parents and children in the same family
Louisville site. Workers involved in the       and strengthen families overall.
program stay an average 145 weeks, com-
pared to eight weeks for workers before        CONClUSION
the program began.
                                               If ever there were a time to undertake a
6. For policymakers and practitioners:         sustained effort to strengthen our systems
Take a two-generation approach                 and create new opportunities for young
At least one-fifth of America’s disconnected   people whose needs have been neglected, it
youth, or about 1.4 million young people,      is now. The world is changing. The global
have at least one child living at home.        economy demands more highly skilled
This parenthood rate for disconnected          workers, and advancing technology only
youth — 21 percent — is twice the rate for     raises the stakes. Yet our education and
all young people ages 16 to 24. Addition-      workforce systems, although improving,
ally, of the 2 million children growing up     are not keeping pace.
with these young parents, 1.1 million live         We must transform our response to
in households without a caregiver who is       meet the needs of young people. A more
employed and 961,000 are in households         flexible, focused and nimble approach is
with incomes less than $20,000 per year.41     required now. More than ever, our efforts
    We know from research that low family      must dovetail with the needs of employers
income and the instability and stress that     who must respond to the emerging econ-
come with growing up poor can have             omy with the best prepared talent possible.
lasting effects on the way children think,         There should be no illusion about the
learn and adapt. We also know that sup-        challenge. It will require sustained effort,
portive child-focused initiatives can help     new and redirected resources and the widest
mitigate the negative consequences for         range of dedicated stakeholders—public,
children who grow up in poverty, including     private, philanthropic—to make it work.
services provided to parents and children      Thankfully, there is growing momentum
in the home or in early care settings.42       for action. Our nation can no longer afford
However, sites rarely bundle services and      to forsake the talents of our youth if we
support for parents and children — such        hope to be economically competitive in the
as those for parents that focus on building    global economy and if we want to ensure
skills, obtaining a job and achieving          that all young people have access to the
credentials and those for children that        American dream of economic prosperity.

YOUTH AND WORK                                 The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |   15
                                                 10. Sum, A. (2012, June). Analyses               20. National Youth Employment               31. The Carl D. Perkins Career and
     eNDNOTeS                                    of the 2000–2011 Current Popula-                 Coalition. (2012, August). Table            Technical Education Act (CTE), the
                                                 tion Survey employment/population                of youth employment/development             Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
                                                 data. Boston, MA: Northeastern                   related programs, final fiscal year         and the Elementary and Secondary
                                                 University, Center for Labor                     2012 enacted appropriations.                Education Act (ESEA).
                                                 Market Studies.                                  Retrieved from
                                                                                                                                              32. Hastings, S., Tsoi-A-Fatt, R., &
                                                 11. A recent longitudinal report                 21. Ibid.                                   Harris, L. (2010, February). Build-
                                                 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics                                                            ing a comprehensive youth employment
                                                 found that between 1998 and 2009,                22. Harris, L., & Bird, K. (2012,           delivery system: Examples of effective
                                                 individuals ages 18 to 24 had an                 July). Comments to U.S. Department          practice. Washington, DC: CLASP.
                                                 average of 5.4 jobs. U.S. Department             of Education Request for Information
                                                 of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.            on strategies for improving outcomes        33. The evaluations and research
                                                 (2012, February 9). America’s young              for disconnected youth. Washington,         mentioned here focus on the work
                                                 adults at 24: School enrollment,                 DC: CLASP. Retrieved from www.              of three organizations: MDRC
     1. Sum, A. (2011, July). The deterio-                                                        (, CLASP (
     ration in the labor market fortunes of      training and employment transitions
                                                 between ages 23 and 24 (news                     files/CLASPCommentstoUSDOE-                 and National Youth Employment
     America’s young adults during the lost                                                       2012OVAE0014.Final-2.pdf                    Coalition (
     decade of 2000–2010 (Policy Brief           release). Washington, DC: Author.
     No. 1). Washington, DC: Children’s          Retrieved from                 23. Harris, L. (2012, March 31).            34. Philanthropy for Active Civic
     Defense Fund.                               release/pdf/nlsyth.pdf                           Reconnecting our youth, a scan of           Engagement (2010, November).
                                                 12. Sum, A., Khatiwada, I., &                    policy opportunities to improve             Civic pathways out of poverty and
     2. Sum, A. (2012, June). Analyses                                                            economic success for vulnerable youth,      into opportunity. Retrieved from
     of the 2000–2011 Current Popula-            McHugh, W. (2012, June). The
                                                 in-high school work experiences of               for the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
     tion Survey employment/population                                                            Washington, DC: CLASP.                      CivicPathwaysPaper.pdf
     and out-of-school/out-of-work data.         Boston public school graduates from
     Boston, MA: Northeastern Univer-            the class of 2009 and their impacts              24. Jim Casey Youth Opportunities           35. Roder, A., & Elliott, M.(2011,
     sity, Center for Labor Market Studies.      on their early post-high school employ-          Initiative. (2011). The adolescent          April). A promising start: Year Up’s
                                                 ment and disconnection status. Report            brain: New research and its implica-        initial impacts on low-income young
     3. Ibid.                                    prepared for the Boston Private                  tions for young people transitioning        adults’ careers. New York, NY:
                                                 Industry Council.                                from foster care. St. Louis, MO:            Economic Mobility Corporation.
     4. Population Reference Bureau.
                                                 13. Belfield, C. R., Levin, H. M.,               Author. Retrieved from www.
     (2012, October). Analysis of the 2011                                                                                                    36. Invest in Outcomes is a site that
                                                 & Rosen, R. (2012, January). The       
     Current Population Survey discon-                                                                                                        presents detailed information on
                                                 economic value of opportunity youth.             files/The%20Adolescent%20Brain_
     nected parent data. Washington,                                                                                                          this topic. Retrieved from http://
                                                 Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises.               prepress_proof%5B1%5D.pdf
     DC: Author.                                                                                                                    
                                                 14. Holzer, H. J., & Lerman, R. I.               25. Notably, Baltimore, Boston,
     5. Economic Policy Institute.                                                                                                            37. The Roberts Enterprise
                                                 (2007, November).                                Hartford, Philadelphia, Los Angeles,
     The state of working America:                                                                                                            Development Fund (REDF). (2011).
                                                                                                  San Diego and Kansas City have
     The great recession. Washington,                                                                                                         Social Impact Report 2010. San
                                                 15. Manyika, J., et al. (2012,                   been successful in sustaining and
     DC: Author. Retrieved from                                                                                                               Francisco, CA: Author. Retrieved           March). Help wanted: The future                  expanding the partnerships across
                                                 of work in advanced economies                    federal agencies among the work-            from
     great-recession                                                                                                                          publications/1019
                                                 (discussion paper). Washington,                  force and K–12, postsecondary,
     6. Holzer, H. J., & Lerman,                 DC: McKinsey Global Institute.                   foster care and juvenile justice            38. Goodwill Industries Inter-
     R. I. (2007, November). America’s                                                            populations, to put more vulnerable         national, Inc. Retrieved from
     forgotten middle-skill jobs: Education      16. Harvard Graduate School                      youth back on track.
                                                 of Education. (2011, February).                                                    
     and training requirements in the
     next decade and beyond. Washington,         Pathways to prosperity: Meeting the              26. Examples include Oregon,                39. Manyika, J., et al. (2012, March).
     DC: Workforce Alliance.                     challenge of preparing young Ameri-              Washington, New York’s transfer
                                                 cans for the 21st century. Cambridge,            schools, Philadelphia’s multiple            40. Other employers that have
     7. Stillwell, R., Sable, J., & Plotts, C.   MA: Author. Retrieved from                       pathways, Chicago’s alternative             developed pathway programs
     (2011, May). Public school graduates                        schools and sites within the Gateway        include Southwire, Gap Inc. and
     and dropouts from the common core           events/features/2011/Pathways_                   to College National Network.                CVS Caremark. Employers fill a
     of data: School year 2008–09 (Report        to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf                                                                    range of essential roles, as described
                                                                                                  27. Sum, A., Khatiwada, I., &               in case studies from Corporate
     No. NCES 2011-312). Washington,
                                                 17. Sum, A. (2012, June). Analyses               McHugh, W. (2012, June).                    Voices for Working Families
     DC: U.S. Department of Education,
     National Center for Education               of the 2000–2011 Current Popula-                                                             (
                                                 tion Survey education enrollment                 28. Case studies from
     Statistics.                                                                                  Corporate Voices for Working
                                                 data. Boston: MA: Northeastern                                                               41. Population Reference Bureau.
                                                 University, Center for Labor                     Families. Retrieved from                    (2012, October). Analysis of the
     8. Institute for Higher Education
                                                 Market Studies.                        
     Policy. (2010, June). A portrait of                                                                                                      2011 Current Population Survey
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     Washington, DC: Author.                     18. National Center for Education                                                            Washington, DC: Author.
                                                 Statistics. (2012, October). Enroll-             together national and local policy
     Retrieved from                                                                 leaders to promote actionable
     assets/files/publications/m-r/              ment in postsecondary institutions,                                                          42. Annie E. Casey Foundation
                                                 fiscal year, 2011; financial statistics,         solutions for youth who are out of          (2012, May). Exploring two-generation
     (brief)_a_portrait_of_low-income_                                                            school, out of work and not con-
     young_adults_in_education.pdf               fiscal year 2011; and graduation                                                             strategies and two-generation results:
                                                 rates, selected cohorts, 2003–2008.              nected to the mainstream. Retrieved         Helping vulnerable children achieve suc-
                                                 Retrieved from                from               cess that lasts. Baltimore, MD: Author.
     9. Hair, E. C., et al. (2009, July).
     Youth who are “ disconnected” and                                                            30. The Campaign for Black Male
     those who then reconnect: Assessing         19. Weber, L. (2011, November 7).
                                                 Among minorities, a new wave                     Achievement. Retrieved from www.
     the influence of family, programs, peers                                           
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     Washington, DC: Child Trends.

16                                               The Annie E. Casey Foundation  |                        kids count policy report 

Research and writing assistance
for this report was provided by
Tom Smith, an independent consultant;
Andy Sum of Northeastern University;
linda Harris of ClASp; and phyllis
Jordan and Tom Waldron of The
Hatcher Group. We thank them for
their expertise and tireless efforts.

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