Our Youth, Our Economy, Our Future: A Road Map for Investing in the Nation’s Talent Pipeline

Nov 20, 2014

Sign on in support of the Road Map to connect youth and young adults to education, work, and opportunity!

As a nation, we face a set of challenges that we can no longer ignore. The economic future of our country depends on the next generation of young Americans becoming ready for college, work, and life.   However, many of our young people are reaching young adulthood without the skills and competencies they need to succeed. Millions of youth are being left behind, disconnected from the societal and economic mainstreams, and falling into harm’s way. 

  • An estimated 6.7 million young people ages 16 to 24 are unattached to school or work.
  • Youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 face an unemployment rate more than twice the overall unemployment rate.
  • By 2018, 60 percent of all U.S. jobs will require some level of postsecondary education.

While we have made considerable progress in raising awareness about these issues and the young people behind these statistics who are too often forgotten, we still have much work to do.  Far too many youth and young adults remain idle and disconnected from economic opportunity. This is a complex problem that requires thoughtful solutions, and our goal should be to increase the number of youth who are connected to school and work. 

The Campaign for Youth recently updated Our Youth, Our Economy, Our Future: A Road Map for Investing in the Nation’s Talent Pipeline, an investment strategy that offers a set of recommendations to help national, state, and local public and private stakeholders identify and invest in solutions –and leverage current philanthropic and federal resources, including the recently enacted Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The strategy offers seven overarching ways to bring these recommendations to reality:

  1. Make reconnecting our youth a national priority.
  2. Invest in high-need communities.
  3. Involve young people in finding solutions for their own generation.
  4. Build capacity to utilize research-based practices and knowledge to expand high-quality programming. 
  5. Create pathways to financial independence and social mobility.
  6. Develop work-based learning opportunities that are relevant to careers and have real world applications.  
  7. Create a policy and research infrastructure to ensure program quality and accountability.

Solutions are within reach but require strong public support, public and private investment, an active nonprofit sector, enabling government policies, and the collective knowledge of the youth development field.

Read our Road Map for Investing in the Nation’s Talent Pipeline.

Sign on in support of the Road Map to connect youth and young adults to education, work, and opportunity!

About the Campaign for Youth: In 2002, the leadership of national youth-serving and policy organizations established the Campaign for Youth to build a united voice for disadvantaged youth. Our mission is to lift up strategies that help young people who are out of work, out of school, and out of the mainstream reconnect and succeed. For information about Campaign for Youth, contact kbird@clasp.org

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