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According to the American Youth Policy Forum, by 2020 approximately 65 percent of jobs will require some post-secondary education or training. Young people who do not earn a post-secondary credential are more likely to be jobless, earn less money, have more family and relationship struggles, and become incarcerated compared to youth who earn a high school diploma.
The forum's new report, "Building Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth," looks at programs in Connecticut and Michigan that aim to help 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in school or working. The report concludes that these "opportunity youth" particularly benefit from programs that do the following:
1. Connect learning and working: By benefitting from opportunities that blend education and workforce experience, older disconnected youth become more invested in their own success and learn to apply real-world skills.
2. Collaborate across systems: Programs that have fewer barriers to entry and offer services like transportation, health care, child care, education and workforce training in a single location, are easier for youth to navigate.
3. Invest in the professional development and capacity of staff: Frontline staff must be well trained and have the relevant skills to work with young people who may have experienced trauma.