Study: 15 percent of US youth out of school, work

Almost 6 million of those aged 16 to 24 are missing out on a window to build skills or use their knowledge acquired in college
Associated Press
Oct 22, 2013

Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday.

That's almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report.

Other studies have shown that idle young adults are missing out on a window to build skills they will need later in life or use the knowledge they acquired in college. Without those experiences, they are less likely to command higher salaries and more likely to be an economic drain on their communities.

"This is not a group that we can write off. They just need a chance," said Mark Edwards, executive director of the coalition of businesses, advocacy groups, policy experts and nonprofit organizations dedicated to increasing economic mobility. "The tendency is to see them as lost souls and see them as unsavable. They are not."

But changing the dynamic is not going to be easy.

The coalition also finds that 49 states have seen an increase in the number of families living in poverty and 45 states have seen household median incomes fall in the last year. The dour report underscores the challenges young adults face now and foretell challenges they are likely to face as they get older.

A young person's community is often closely tied to his or her success. The Opportunity Nation report tracked 16 factors — Internet access, college graduation rates, income inequality and public safety among them — and identified states that were doing well for its young people.

Topping the list of supportive states are Vermont, Minnesota and North Dakota. At the bottom? Nevada, Mississippi and New Mexico.

"Their destiny is too often determined by their ZIP code," said Charlie Mangiardi, who works with Year Up, a nonprofit that trains young adults for careers and helps them find jobs.

"We have the supply. We don't have a lack of young people who need this opportunity," Mangiardi added.

Just look at some of the nation's largest cities. Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Riverside, Calif., all have more than 100,000 idle youth, the Opportunity Nation report found.

"Often times they lack the social capital in life," Mangiardi said. "There's a whole pool of talent that is motivated, loyal and hardworking." They just can't get through an employer's door, he added.

That's why Year Up spends a year working with high school graduates to teach them career skills such as computer programming or equipment repair they can use when the program ends. It also includes life coaching so they can learn skills such as time management. More than 4,500 young adults from urban areas have completed the program and 84 percent of them have found work.

But it's a far tougher time for other young people.

In Mississippi and West Virginia, 1 in 5 young people are idle — higher than their older neighbors. Mississippi has an overall unemployment rate of 8 percent, while West Virginia posts about 7 percent. Like most states, they saw their unemployment rate fall since 2011, but researchers caution that shift could come from fewer residents looking for work and from more who had simply given up their search for jobs.

And it's not as though the challenges emerge from nowhere. Quality early childhood programs help students from poor families overcome societal hurdles, and on-time high school graduation rates often follow quality schools — other factors Opportunity Nation examined in its report.

"A lot of times we don't want to look at data because we don't want to be depressed," said Rob Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa.

But it's an uncomfortable reality that needs to be addressed, he said.

Using previous years' reports from Opportunity Nation, Denson helped rally community organizations in his city to develop a pilot program to help students as young as 14 find summer work.

"When we got the index, it really allowed us to use it as a rallying point for all of the community-based organizations we work with to say, 'Look, this is what the world sees when they look at Iowa,'" he said.

Starting next summer, Des Moines students will be placed in paying jobs, part of a citywide collaboration to help its urban communities. It will help older adults, as well, because crime rates are expected to fall, he said.

"If they're not in school or at work," Denson said, "they're not usually doing something positive."



No Dr. a. You've missed the issue. So you played ball..big whoop.To those that haven't been out of this county I urge you to read some or travel. Norway,Sweden,France, Germany, & others work to live. If you'd been out a bit you'd understand. Again nitpick small things while avoiding real problems.


". Norway,Sweden,France, Germany, & others work to live. If you'd been out a bit you'd understand."

All of which have trade schools where the students that don't go to college learn a trade and apply trade in their jobs. Very few manufacturing jobs don't require such trade school degrees there.
Europe has more robots used than in the US. If you don't have training or a skill you don't work at a good job, even more so than in the US.

Look at the unemployment rates, pay attention to the rate for those under 25.

And now the ONLY country in Europe that is doing well.

Suggest you get your facts correct before making more of a fool of yourself... or maybe travel a bit or read some facts before posting.


Re: "Norway,"

Has the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world due to North Sea oil.

Unfortunately, the U.S. "SS trust fund" contains IOUs.

Another fallacy: The aforementioned countries are largely ethnically and culturally homogenous - the U.S. is NOT.


Re: "France"

And if one had been paying attention, one would see that it is imploding from its suffocating socio-economic straightjacket policies.

Dear Leader has been directing us toward a socialist model which in practicality is FAILING and will always FAIL.


Improving yourself takes effort. Whether it be additional education or skill training it takes personal responsibility to make that change.

It's not the government's responsibility. It's not the community's responsibility. It's your responsibility.

You can blame almost anyone or any situation for a lack of initiative to improve yourself. It takes real effort to rise above those excuses and exceed in your life.

Do you have what it takes?


Well grump you pay me. Thanxs. I'm probably set, 20 & out. Again please pay more attention & listen to people that are the same age as your children, they could educate you on current situations.


Give us some numbers to compare, give us someone who has first hand knowledge about how things were then compared to now. If you wish to contrast and compare different times you need one or the other. You don't supply either. You wish to take first hand accounts from one time and compare it to what you didn't experience and expect someone to believe your one sided view as knowledgeable? You don't give apples to apples comparrisons, you want to speak about how you feel. Sorry I don't really care that you feel you have it so bad compared to everyone before you. Give us numbers or examples, neither of which you have done. Then you whine that we don't believe you.

My kids wouldn't agree with you that I don't know what is happening currently.I live in the present and prepare for the future. You seem to whine about what others have lived in the past and whine about the present, and how everyone before had it easier.


No whine just truth. As previous statements go my future should be okay. But down the road people lost their jobs after decades of hard work. They are over 50. Many more like them is this zone also.(You probably wouldn't want to tell them what you are telling me) Consideration, being decent, that should never change. Sadly it has. From older folks, older relatives & numerous travels my own experiences bear this out. "All our lives we sweat & save - building for a shallow grave."/The Soft Parade/The Doors. Have a great evening grump got some welding to do.


"No whine just truth"

Minus facts numbers, or anything to back up your opinion. Sorry it is just one person whining listen to me, my opinion means something!!!!! It is right dmanit, because I feel that way makes it truth.

Sorry it doesn't work that way in the real world, you have to have facts for it to be considered truth. When you can't find anything to back up your words... but then we don't expect you to show anything to back you up.

As for my grave... if any of my organs are viable they will be donated, and what's left goes to a medical clooege for whatever they wish to do to what's left... I really don't much care ... if it helps others learn.

Dr. Information

agree grumpy. He's just another poster who provides opinion as facts.


I suggest that you give some to charities, as I have done over the decades. It is much more effiecient than what gov't does, and you can pick those who you wish to give to. Here is a website that tell you how much each charity spends outide of giving to the people receiving the help. I have used it for years, it is the best one I have found.

That is if you want to do something more than just whine about what others do or don't do... especially when you don't have any idea what they do, what they have done,... or even who they are.


I suggest that you give some to charities, as I have done over the decades. It is much more effiecient than what gov't does, and you can pick those who you wish to give to. Here is a website that tell you how much each charity spends outide of giving to the people receiving the help. I have used it for years, it is the best one I have found.

That is if you want to do something more than just whine about what others do or don't do... especially when you don't have any idea what they do, what they have done,... or even who they are.





You mean like someone who spouts what is happening in some European countries (the ones he mentioned) and when shown facts about what is really happening there sticks his head in the ground and refuses to refute or acknowledge what is happening there?

And you wonder why we don't take your word for what you claim to "know".

Truth or Dare

Sure, C.P. is a great place to work, as long as you're not involved in any extra-curricular activities at school. Since when can you tell your coach you won't be at football practice, can't make the baseball game because you're scheduled to work? C.P. will tell you they're willing to work around your sports schedule, or whatever it may be, but they won't and don't. By the way, there is a home just 3 doors down from me that over the last few years has rented through the Summer to at least a dozen young foreign workers, from different countries. It's also a Metro Home. I have to wonder who is making out there?


Grump you probably liked Reagan's support of General Zia too. (look what a frickin mess that made) Do not you ever look around and think independently? Always got to have a link? At your age don't you have any experiences or did you pretty reside in 1county most of your life?


Yep I have independent opinions. But that is what they are OPINIONS, not truth, not facts, those are different and can be proved outside my personal experience. That is why the words are different. If I mean facts I don't confuse that with opinion, which is what I "think independently". Facts are different from opinions. It is always good to know the difference between the two. Try it sometime. It is really nice when your opinion can be backed by facts... that makes it truth... no guesses or hope. Words have meaning, and when the way we communicate here is all written words, it is best to use the correct ones. I try not to push my opinions as facts, which is why I tend to use links to back up what I say. I learned, over time, that my opinions aren't always facts. But when I can back them up, they are.

He11 reagan sucked on some things. No politician does everything right... or wrong... even Carter did s couple thigs right, but he really tanked the economy and sucked on foregn policy... especially in the ME. Reagn did much better in his first term. Clinton did much better in his second. Reagan sucked on what he did on mental health issues but congress did no better at the time. It rarely is the fault of noe person.