8 months ago

Opportunity Youth: Disenfranchised Young People

Opportunity Youth: Disenfranchised Young People

2/9/2018 Disconnected

2/9/2018 Disconnected Youth: Out of School and Out of Work in Rural America Disconnected Youth: Out of School and Out of Work in Rural America April 27, 2017 By Tim Henderson Pocomoke High School teacher Brooke Gillespie and senior Rebeka Kline, who plans to study art at a local community college, decorate vacant storefronts in rural Pocomoke City, Maryland, as part of an after-school program to teach job skills. “After they graduate, there isn’t much here” for young people looking for jobs, Gillespie said. © The Pew Charitable Trusts 1/7

2/9/2018 Disconnected Youth: Out of School and Out of Work in Rural America POCOMOKE CITY, Md. — Large numbers of young people who aren’t in school and don’t have a job used to be a problem that mostly afflicted America’s cities. But the share of “disconnected youth” in rural areas has soared over the past five years, overtaking the rate in urban areas and forcing state and local officials to look for new ways to help young people stay in school and get jobs. Here in rural Worcester County, Maryland, a popular summer destination that includes Ocean City and other beach resorts, almost 25 percent of people 16 to 24 are unemployed and out of school, according to a recent state report. That’s the highest rate in the state, higher even than in Baltimore, where about 20 percent of young people are disconnected. And it’s being felt hard in this quaint small town, where good seasonal jobs are 40 miles away and the nearest job-training program is about 25 miles away. “Traditionally the perception has been that this is happening in urban areas and that’s where the funding and the research has taken place,” said Christina Church, a policy analyst in the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children. Areas like Worcester and nearby Caroline counties “have in some ways fallen through the cracks,” she said. Nationwide, 4.9 million youth in all kinds of communities are disconnected, according to Measure of America, part of the nonprofit Social Science Research Council. Disconnected youth cost taxpayers as much as $93 billion a year in lost revenue and increased social service spending, according to Opportunity Nation, a coalition of nonprofits. About 20 percent of young people in extremely rural areas — those like Worcester County with no cities larger than 10,000 people — were jobless and not in school, on average, over a five-year period, from 2010 to 2014, Measure of America said in a March report. That’s much higher than the rate for counties in urban centers (about 14 percent) or for suburban counties (12 percent). “These vulnerable young people are cut off from the people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help them develop the knowledge, skills, maturity, and sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults,” the Measure of America report concluded. “And the negative effects of youth disconnection ricochet across the economy, the social sector, the criminal justice system, and the political landscape, affecting us all.” The election of President Donald Trump has drawn fresh attention to the plight of rural America. On Wednesday, the National Governors Association called on Congress to restore funding to a federal program that provides funding to rural communities and school districts to help offset lost tax revenue from timber harvests on federal lands. Congress let the Secure Rural Schools program expire last year, and the governors said rural communities have struggled to absorb the unplanned cuts. 2/7

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