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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

Unemployment on the Rise Among California Youth

California youth face numerous obstacles preventing them from succeeding in the workplace.

Employment among young people is at its lowest level since the 1950s, according to a report published Monday.

The study conducted by two children’s advocacy organizations, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now, found that 868,000 Californians ages 16 to 24 neither work nor attend school. This marks a 35 percent increase since 2000.

According to a press release from the Annie E. Casey foundation, these young people tend to face many obstacles that prevent them from succeeding in the workplace.

“Often described as disconnected youth, they are encountering greater competition from older workers for increasingly scarce entry-level jobs, especially in light of the recession,” the release said. 

Many of these young people also grew up in poverty and attended “low-performing” schools. In fact, many do not even graduate from high school or prepare for college, which further decreases their chance of employment and has long-term implications. 

African Americans, Latinos, and low-income communities have been particularly affected. Among African Americans, 45 percent of young people do not work or attend school, with 39 percent of Latinos, 28 percent of whites and 26 percent of Asians. 

The report “emphasizes the need to provide multiple, flexible pathways to success for disconnected young people to find ways to reengage high school drop-outs.” 

According to Patrice Cromwell, director of economic development at the Casey Foundation, “business, government, philanthropy and communities must work together with young people to help them develop the skills and experience they need to achieve long-term success and financial stability as adults."

In conjunction with the press release, Kids Count released a policy report, which also offered recommendations to help solve the youth unemployment crisis. 

[ABOVE: LAUSD City Partnership Coordinator Emily Hernandez describes why the LAUSD-City of Los Angeles pairing is so important.]

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