While most teenagers spend their days sitting in school desks or working dead-end jobs, a new report has revealed that 850,000 California youth are, in fact, doing neither of these.
The “Kids Count” report, which took into account people ages 16 to 24, found that the number of “disconnected youth” is increasing, with some 6.5 million unemployed youth in the U.S.
The report, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now, states this is the highest unemployment rate since World War II.
The number of youth unemployed and not in school in California has increased by 35 percent since 2000.
Jessica Mindnich, director of research for Oakland-based Children Now, told the CoCo Times:
“We’re talking about … first employment opportunities that give students a chance to develop some of those really basic skills like how to dress at work. The fact that we have a whole generation of kids that aren’t having these experiences is really problematic not only for the state, but also for these children and their futures.”
Factors leading to this increase include lack of education, opportunity and connection to school or work.
Fred McCasland, area director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, said:
“We’ve seen a lot of teens dropping out of school, and once they come of age, not finding a job. By not finishing school, it minimizes their potential to find employment.”
The report recommends creating more flexible ways for youth to finish school and find employment opportunities. It also suggests creating a national youth employment strategy that makes financial aid, funding, and other support services more accessible and aligning resources within communities to create collaborative efforts to support youth.