A recent study by Brookings found that statistically younger workers (up to age 24) experience higher unemployment rates and less job stability than more experienced workers. This was exacerbated by the Great Recession of 2007-2009, which saw job opportunities drop substantially, especially for younger workers. Why is this important? Because work experience in the younger years provides a critical foundation for an individual’s workforce trajectory for life and sets the tone for overall success.
At ACS we’ve helped the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Forward Promise grantees develop strategies to help connect young boys and men of color, particularly those that are or at-risk for being disconnected, to school and work. ACS understands that collectively a broad group of stakeholders, such as employers, schools, non-profits, and government entities need to work together to create change for today’s youth.
To help communities successfully engage with stakeholders, ACS created a simple 8 step process. You can find this tool on our website here on our website.
What else did the Brooking report say?
In short, that while many employers appreciate the flexibility, energy, and tech-savviness of younger workers, they identify academic and soft skills, dependability, and ability to fit into the workplace culture as both fundamental requirements and pervasive weaknesses among younger workers. It also found that a diverse group of stakeholders (employers, government, education, and training organizations) need to work together to improve youth job outcomes. The study notes that to improve outcomes for young workers and businesses:
- Employers need to identify more clearly the skills necessary to execute their business plans and improve their strategies to recruit, assess, and train for those skills;
- Stakeholders need to support and participate in workforce intermediaries or employer partnerships that meet regional labor market needs;
- Educators and employers need to strengthen their information flows and increase their use of industry-recognized competency-based credentials; and
- Educators and employers need to work together to expand work-based learning opportunities.