Employment is down among everyone between the ages of 16 and 64—particularly among teens, but with a great deal of variation by geography, race, and education. The disparity between blacks and whites is especially stark. For example, unemployment among white young adults peaked at 14% in 2010—still considerably lower than unemployment rates for black young adults at any point in the 2008 to 2014 time period. Unemployment for black 20- to 24-year-olds rose to 29.5% in 2010 and fell to 22.3% in 2014, compared to 10.3% among whites in 2014.
While there is no silver bullet, higher levels of education and work experience clearly improve job prospects down the line for young people. There are multiple strategies local and regional leaders can use to build more structured pathways into employment. An admittedly non-comprehensive review includes the following types of promising and proven programs:
For high school students:
- Paid internship programs, such as Urban Alliance and Genesys Works
- High school programs that bridge school and work with occupationally-focused courses and career exposure, such as Career Academies, Linked Learning, High Tech High, Advanced Career, Alamo Academies, and P-Tech, some of which also incorporate post-secondary courses and credentials into their programs
- Youth apprenticeships, such as state programs in Georgia and Wisconsin
For out-of-school youth and young adults:
- Highly structured programs offering work readiness and technical skills development, often in partnership with community colleges, and coupled with paid internships, such as Year Up, i.c.stars, npower, and Per Scholas
- Programs that offer stipends and combine academics, job training, mentoring, and supportive services while carrying out community improvement projects, such as YouthBuild and Youth Corps.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Help wanted: Better pathways into the labor market | Brookings Institution