Advocating for Disconnected Youth

We are experiencing unprecedented challenges in Louisville. For the one in ten of our young people who are approaching adulthood disconnected, the challenges are particularly daunting.

Mayor Fischer has proposed in his current budget $1.5 million for the Office of Resilience and Community Services and KentuckianaWorks to help prepare our community’s disconnected and vulnerable youth. The funding, redirected from prior allocations to the now closed Youth Detention Center (total prior budget of $8+ million), will make a significant positive difference.

We need your help to get this budget passed.

Join us in asking Louisville Metro Council to:

  • Fully fund the development of a one-stop employment and education center for reengaging vulnerable youth with a blend of resources from Louisville Metro ($1 million reallocated from the closed Youth Detention Center), partner organizations, and federal and state funds.
  • Allocate Louisville Metro External Agency Funds to programs supporting disconnected youth ($500,000 of funding from the closed Youth Detention Center).

Additional actions Louisville Metro can take today:

  • Task Evolve 502 with allocating 15% of scholarship funds to young people who are not in school.
  • Establish an Education Committee of the Louisville Metro Council.
  • Partner with private funders to invest in dropout prevention both in schools and in the community.
  • Make information on the employment opportunities for youth and young adults accessible. Identify employers hiring through SummerWorks, Academies of Louisville and the Internship Academy.

What you can do:


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Sample Letter

Dear Council Person:

Skilled, credentialed, healthy, and engaged young people are essential in our effort to restart Louisville’s economy post-COVID. However, a significant group of Louisville’s youth and young adult are not on track. Organization Name calls on city leaders to invest in Louisville’s “disconnected” youth.

In Louisville, approximately 8,900 (10.8%) of all 16- to 24-year-olds are considered disconnected, neither in school nor working due to learning challenges, poverty or homelessness, foster care or juvenile justice involvement, structural racism, mental health problems, or related issues.  Additionally, more than 9,800 18 to 24-year olds in Louisville lack a high school diploma. These disruptions in education and employment overshadow the opportunities young people have to learn, to become financially independent, and to fully participate in our community.

The economic crisis caused by COVID will increase the number of disconnected youth in our community. Overall, young people are more likely to have been working in COVID-affected service and retail sectors and account for nearly half of all workers paid minimum wages or less. They are less likely to have access to health insurance, paid sick leave, or savings to endure a recession. One in five young people in Louisville experienced poverty growing up and now report their incomes provide essential or the only support to the household.

The sudden and unprecedented drop in school and work opportunities for young people is also likely contributing to the recent increase in youth-involved crime in our community.  Closing the Louisville Metro Youth Detention Center was an essential step that now challenges us as a community to develop more effective strategies to help struggling young people get back on track.

While organization name recognizes the unprecedented constraints of both public and private funders, we call all our leaders to take the following specific actions to address Louisville’s growing and critical number of disconnected youth:

  • Fully fund the development of a one-stop employment and education center for reengaging vulnerable youth, with a blend of resources from Louisville Metro ($1 million reallocated from the closed Youth Detention Center), partner organizations, and federal and state funds.
  • Allocate Louisville Metro External Agency Funds to programs supporting disconnected youth ($500,000 of funding from the closed Youth Detention Center).
  • Task Evolve 502 with allocating 15% of scholarship funds to young people who are not in school.
  • Establish an Education Committee of the Louisville Metro Council.
  • Partner with private funders to invest in dropout prevention both in schools and in the community.
  • Make information on the employment opportunities for youth and young adults accessible. Identify employers hiring through SummerWorks, Academies of Louisville and the Internship Academy.

It is the right time to reverse the decades-long dis-investments in youth programs in Louisville and to focus on the growing number of disconnected youth in our community. The economic impact of re-investing far outweighs the cost. Each young person reconnected will generate approximately $105,500 in new tax revenue and will save taxpayers $65,230 in social supports.

 



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