Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Eduployment - A call to action

The youth employment crisis has never been worse in the United States.  Fewer young people are working today than at any time since records started being kept in 1948.  America has the smallest percentage of young adults in the labor force of any industrialized country.  And yet, the longer it takes to get into workforce translates into diminished earnings for years to comes.

None of this is new information, of course, and policy makers and advocates have been talking about  youth unemployment for years.  But that conversation has grown stale, according to a new report published by The Youth Transition Funders Group, the result of rigidity in the ways we think about pathways to adulthood, mismatch of policies and investments, and a focus on short-term fixes over long-term solutions.

Instead, the report calls for an overhaul of youth policy based on "eduployment"-- a blending of school and work preparedness -- to ensure that young people successfully navigate our education systems AND the labor market.  The main components include:

  • Building a unified voice among youth advocates for policy change
  • Enhancing student connections to schools
  • Extending graduation timelines to recognize that young people may require 5 to 6 years to complete high school
  • Making education more responsive with personalization and flexibility, the incorporation of competency-based curricula, increased support for over-age students, and enhanced accountability
  • Ensuring that all students are exposed to work experiences while in high school
  • Easier transitions into higher education and post-secondary credentials.

Changing the conversation to incorporate a more holistic view of the youth employment crisis won't be easy, the report concedes, but must be done if any meaningful solutions are to be found for the nation's 7 million out of school and out of work 16-24 year olds.

Download the report here

Thursday, May 2, 2013

JFNYC releases Barriers to Entry: The Increasing Challenges Faced by Young Adults in the New York City Labor Market (May 2013)

As part of its ongoing mission to expand knowledge about the youth employment crisis, JobsFirstNYC is pleased to announce the release of its latest report: Barriers to Entry: The Increasing Challenges Faced by Young Adults in the New York City Labor Market (May 2013)

Commissioned and contributed to by JFNYC and authored by James Parrott of Fiscal Policy Institute and Lazar Treschan of Community Service Society, this study investigates the plight of 18- to 24-year-olds in the New York City labor market. The report analyzes current levels and recent trends in the demand for -- and identifies key characteristics of -- the supply of young adult labor.  Throughout the analysis, we place particular emphasis on those who are out of school and out of work (OSOW).

The report also provides, through a discussion of key labor market concepts and measurements, insight into how to best understand levels and trends related to young adult employment.  Key findings include:

  • Young adults as a whole in New York City are working less but receiving more schooling; yet OSOW rates remain high.
  • More competition from older workers is making it harder for young workers to find jobs.
  • Less educated young workers are finding it harder to progress out of the lowest-paying jobs.
  • The recession has led to significant increases in the portion of OSOW young people who are unemployed or discouraged workers, as jobs have become even scarcer for young people.
  • Certain communities show alarmingly high concentrations of OSOW youth; 18 of the city’s 55 neighborhoods are home to over half of the city’s OSOW young adults.
  • A significant portion of the OSOW population faces major barriers to obtaining and succeeding in employment.
The purpose of this study is to raise questions through an in-depth analysis of labor market data and, based on our findings, offer a set of implications for policymakers concerned with reducing the numbers of OSOW young adults. We hope that it can serve as a vehicle for discussions about how JFNYC’s partners in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors can make use of this data to advance their work.

Click here to download the report.