The number of disconnected youth ages 16-24 in Kentucky jumped 49 percent from 2000 to 2011. In Louisville, 14.0 percent of youth ages 16-24 are disconnected from education and employment. Data by counties and Congressional Districts further illustrate Kentucky is falling behind the nation in preparing young people for adulthood. “The lack of education, opportunity, and connection to school or work places youth at risk of long-term instability, leaves our 21st century economy without skilled employees, and increases spending on safety net programs.”
While the issues are complex, communities can act to reconnect 16 to 24 year olds who are not working and not in school. “We need to connect isolated, opportunity-scarce communities back into the wider society and create meaningful opportunities within them. Macro policy implications range from dispersing high concentrations of poverty by changing zoning laws and building low-income housing in mixed-income neighborhoods, to redesigning public support programs and services toward two-generation approaches that address the education and employment needs of parents while helping children thrive.”
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative has the goal of creating the nation’s largest employer-led private sector coalition committed to creating pathways to employment for young people. Companies engaged in the coalition will help to launch careers for young people that are just entering the workforce, including internships, apprenticeships and on the job training, in addition to developing potential in youth that have some work experience but are looking to gain new skills that lead to a successful career. For more information, please visit www.100kOpportunities.org.
As a child, Jessica lived with her mom in shelters and hotels. In high school, she was placed in foster care. “At 20, completely on my own, I needed an advocate, a mentor, a bossy guide to force me to take the harder road.”
It may seem like an impossible task – managing the demands of college while struggling with homeless. In 2013, 58,000 students applying for federal financial aid reported they were homeless. Most of these youth and young adults are motivated, good students who understand how important their education is, yet often don’t know resources are available to help them.
Did you know, for instance,
homeless and low-income youth can receive assistance in paying for AP exams, ACT/SAT entrance exam fees, and college applications;
many colleges offer year round housing to young people who have unstable living situations and need somewhere to stay during school breaks;
financial aid and scholarships are available for homeless and economically independent youth.
In a recent report, Measure of America detailed the causes and consequences of Louisville’s disconnected youth and young adults. Listen to young people describe their experience in this July 2015 video produced by the Courier-Journal.
55,000 Degrees, a local initiative to increase the rate of college graduates, is partnering with eight universities in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, public and private school systems and several Louisville city organizations to offer face-to-face and virtual mentoring to high school students heading to college.
The program include one-on-one communication between a college-enrolled mentor and a prospective student, and a program in which students receive regular text and email reminders about important college dates.
“There’s a gap in support for (high school) students,” said Lilly Massa-McKinley, leader of the summer melt initiatives. “Even if a university might be sending out emails, there are a lot of barriers to enroll in the fall.” Courier Journal, July 9, 2015
So far this summer, 240 are participating in the free mentoring program. For more information, contact Jennifer Brophy, Summer Navigator Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the 55,000 Degrees website.
21,750 of all 16 to 24 year olds in Louisville/Jefferson Co, nearly one in seven, are neither working nor going to school, according to a report released last month by Measure of America.
The causes consequences can be complex and long-standing for individuals and the community-at-large. “Disconnected youth are cut off from the people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help them develop the knowledge, skills, maturity, and sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults.”
Focusing attention on the increased rates of disconnection for black and Latino youth, particularly for those living in highly-segregated neighborhoods, the report states communities must turn their attention to the root causes, not the symptoms, of disconnection.
“Knitting disconnected, opportunity-scarce communities into the fabric of our wider society and creating meaningful pathways within them is the answer to youth disconnection.”
Kristen Lewis, Co-Author of “Zeroing In On Race and Place: Youth Disconnection in American Cities”
For more information on the Louisville’s disconnected youth …
See an analysis of how the rate of disconnected youth and young adults in Louisville compares to its 14 peer cities
Of 19 year old respondents currently or formally in foster care:
One-third (34%) reported being employed either full-time (24%) or part-time (12%);
Forty-four percent reported receiving at least one form of financial assistance (other than public assistance) including Social Security (14%), educational aid (24%), or some other form of financial support (15%);
70% were attending school compared to 47% of youth who were no longer in care at age 19 (Note: completing secondary or post-secondary education is one of the reasons youth are able to remain in foster care after age 18).
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau requires states to conduct annual surveys of foster youth receiving independent living services through the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. This report is a summary of national level data on the outcomes of 19 year olds who responded to the survey from Oct 2012 to Sept 2013.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population in 2013 for Jefferson County, Kentucky was 756,832. Approximately 105,529 are between the ages of 14 and 24 years. This chart displays the estimated populations for two age groups and genders.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Selected Age Groups by Sex for the United States, States, Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013. Release Date: June 2014