The kids of America are in a bad way. Even compared to just a decade ago.
In 2000, Rosa Ramirez at National Journal reports
, 43% of youth were employed, compared to only a quarter today. A new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation called "Kids Count" looks at so-called "disconnected" youth, meaning folks between the ages of 16 and 24 neither employed nor in school. In addition to the dwindling employment prospects of many in this age group, millions have dropped out of high school or have avoided entering college. The study shows that taken together, these disconnected youth have cost taxpayers $1.56 trillion in recent years through their greater than average use of housing subsidies, food stamps, and in some cases jail space.
The crux of the problem, writes Ramirez, is that "without a full education or job experience, disconnected youths are growing up without the cluster of personal qualities, work habits, and attitudes needed to obtain and retain employment." Such a cluster has been dubbed "soft skills
" by social scientists, as opposed to the "hard skills" of specific, often highly technical job training.
"Ensuring youth are prepared for the high-skilled jobs available in today's economy must be a national priority," said Annie E. Casey Foundation CEO Patrick McCarthy, "for the future of our workforce and the strength of our nation as a whole."
Via National Journal