Raising the Visibility: Advancing Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Disconnected Youth

Aug 03, 2012

By Kisha Bird

In American communities - large, small, urban, rural, and suburban -- millions of young people are isolated from opportunities to realize their potential and participate fully in our society. An astounding 6.7 million youth ages 16 to 24 are disconnected from education, the labor market, and opportunity. America's youth are experiencing depression-era levels of unemployment, and we are losing significant ground with segments of our minority youth population. In particular, low-income young men of color are disproportionately affected by the current labor market, with fewer than one in five African-American and Latino young men having a job last month.

The Obama Administration has shown considerable leadership in this arena through the White House Council for Community Solutions and the Interagency Work Group on Disconnected Youth.  The Department of Education's recent Request for Information on Strategies for Improving Outcomes for Disconnected Youth is also timely and necessary.  In response to the request for information, CLASP submitted a set of comprehensive recommendations that we hope will lead to:

  • continued visibility to the situation of this often forgotten segment of the youth population,
  • advanced policies that support dropout recovery and the reengagement of youth in high-risk situations, and
  • multiple federal funding streams that can create robust interventions to put youth on track to education, career, and life success.

It is important that these recent efforts are not one-time activities, but are launching points that will influence a broader vision of how federal policy can and should undergird local policy and program approaches for youth.  

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