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New Report Finds More Than 850,000 “Disconnected Youth” 
Neither in School nor Working in California

Dec 03, 2012

Oakland, CA — More than 850,000 California teens and young adults, ages 16- 24, are neither in school nor working, according to a new KIDS COUNT® report released today by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now. The percentage of so-called “disconnected youth” in California (18%) is higher than the national average (17%); it’s also up 35 percent, or more than 200,000, since 2000. Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity provides a snapshot of the nation’s disconnected youth, describes the barriers they face towards becoming financially stable, and draws attention to the supports they need to become engaged and connected.

The report finds that lack of education, opportunity and connection to school or work has long-term implications for disconnected youth. They are less likely to achieve financial stability as adults, which represents a significant cost to taxpayers, since the government would have to spend more to support them. As such, it is essential for teens and young adults to have opportunities to obtain real world work experience. This is especially true for low-income and minority youth, who are more likely to be disconnected. The report finds that nearly one in three African Americans, between the ages of 20 and 24, are disconnected compared to the national average of one in four.

“This report illustrates the need to provide teens and young adults clearer direction to college and careers, and makes the case for stronger connections between the experience they gain in and out of the classroom,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now. “In California, we have a proven strategy that is working in schools across the state. Two great examples of Linked Learning—The Law Academy at Richmond High School in Richmond and Digital Media and Design School at Kearny High School in San Diego—prepare children by providing them more learning opportunities that are connected to real world experiences.”

Linked Learning is an approach that connects traditional classroom instruction with technical skills taught through internships, apprenticeships and school. It prepares students for college and careers by embracing four core components: academic rigor, technical skill building, work-based experiences, and support services.

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