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 “We’re living now with some of the consequences of a bifurcated country,” said Patrick Carr, a Rutgers University sociologist who studies rural America. “It’s not good for America to have so many people disconnected.” In some places, officials are taking steps to address the problem. In California’s Silicon Valley, a partnership between Santa Clara County, the city of San Jose, and local schools and employers opened a “re-engagement center” about 18 months ago to help youth find jobs or enroll in college or high school in rural Gilroy. The distance between Gilroy and urban San Jose, about 30 miles, was an obvious problem for youth, said Nicky Ramos-Beban, interim principal for the centers. A similar partnership called the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative is working with schools and employers to help people in foster care in rural areas stay in school or find jobs. The Connecticut Opportunity Project, in a September 2016 report, found “acute need in rural areas” of the state as well as struggling cities to help young people finish school, get jobs or both. Disconnected young people cost the state an estimated $900 million a year in uncollected taxes and spending on services and public safety, the report said. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, made lowering the disconnected rate a priority for the Office for Children in next year’s budget, mostly because it could save money in the long run, Church said. “When youth reconnect with work and school, not only does spending on social services decrease, but also tax revenue and economic participation increase, which is good for the state’s bottom line,” Church said. The Office for Children has asked counties, including Worcester, to propose plans to help solve the problem, such as dropout recovery programs, college prep courses, apprenticeships and job training. Proposals are due by the end of April to be considered for inclusion in the next state budget. 3/7

2/9/2018 Disconnected Youth: Out of School and Out of Work in Rural America Behind the Numbers The disconnected rate reflects both education and employment, and the two factors have evolved differently in rural and urban areas. In 2000, disconnected rates were lower in rural areas than in urban areas. But since then, fortunes have reversed, according to a separate Stateline analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau provided by at the University of Minnesota. (The definition of rural areas in this data — counties that are not in areas near sizeable cities — is broader than that used by Measure of America, and includes about 13 percent of the nation’s population, compared to 6 percent under the Measure of America definition.) In 2000, 11 percent of young people in rural areas were disconnected, compared to 15 percent in urban areas, according to the Stateline analysis. But since 2013, the rural rate has been at least 3 percentage points higher than the urban rate. In 2016, 17 percent of young people in rural areas were disconnected, compared to 13 percent in urban areas. 4/7

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