Approximately 30% of young people (16 to 18 years) who have dropped out of high are working, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute. While the report indicates it is difficult to know whether these young workers left school to help support their families or they entered the labor market after dropping out, it does shed light on the demographic characteristics of these young workers.
More importantly, this report identifies possible strategies for re-engaging employed young people in school. Policy makers and educators could:
- Create part-time or flexible school schedules. Approximately half of youth work fewer than 40 weeks per year and an average of 31 hours per week when working. A part-time, virtual or flexible school schedule would greatly benefit these working youth.
- Assist families to access services. Youth in low-income families who do not access TANF, SSI, SNAP or Medicare or who have limited education are more likely to be working. Community programs that assist adult family members with employment, education and public assistance services can help youth stay in school.
- Link youth with career-pathway jobs. Develop opportunities for young people to get part-time entry-level positions that provide viable job skills that can lead to higher paying jobs and encourage continued education.