"In a nation built on the promise of opportunity, too many young people struggle to find a solid foothold in the world of work. The youth unemployment crisis is complex, pervasive, and persistent, with wide-reaching consequences for states and communities across the national and global economies."
Recent annual estimates (2018) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that 1.8 million young Americans ages 16-24 are available and actively searching for work, but are unable to secure a job - a roughly 9% youth unemployment rate, more than double the national average for the overall population. This figure excludes the 17 million youth who are not in the labor force, and disconnected youth who are not presently searching for work.
In response to these statistics, America's Promise Alliance did extensive research and launched the YES Project - Young, Employed, Successful - to unify the nation in reaching a major collective goal: every young person seeking a job can find a job. Their working paper breaks down the "Ready, Connected, Supported" framework that serves as the backbone of the YES Project. The Alliance's shared approach drives everyone - from employers and public officials, to community leaders and young people themselves - toward increasing youth employment.
To provide competitive value in today's rapidly changing world of work, youth must be lifelong learners ready to adapt to occupational challenges, chances, transitions, and change. This requires an adaptive profile of readiness, including an education and collection of flexible cognitive and technical skills, a range of social and emotional capacities, and an array of career management competencies.
: A large number of young people have strengths and skills that render them ready for work. Far too many, however, lack access, attachment, and engagement to the key contexts, activities, and relationships that can foster a sense of connectedness to the world of work and facilitate their entry and success within the workforce. Youth who are connected will have developed and sustained access to, attachment toward, and engagement with their working lives.
: Young people require a range of social supports at each stage of their career development. A comprehensive web of supportive relationships spanning across the various developmental contexts in which youth are embedded (e.g., family, school, work, community, friends, etc.) can more aptly provide youth with an array of developmental supports that are aligned with the young person's unique strengths and needs.
In an upcoming article, Issues will delve more deeply into the "Ready, Connected, Supported" framework which can be used to inform the Strengthening Stark Talent/Workforce initiatives.