Study Shows Unemployed, Uneducated Youth in Kentucky, Nation Increasing

Dec 3, 2012

A nonprofit group said Monday the number of young adults who are not in school and unemployed in Kentucky and around the nation is skyrocketing. The children's advocacy group the Annie E. Casey Foundation said in the report that U.S. youth employment rates for both 16- to 19-year-olds and 20- to 24-year-olds are the lowest they've been in 50 years.

In Kentucky alone, between 2000 and 2011, the number of young adults ages 20 to 24 who are not in school and not working grew by 88 percent. For 16- to 19-year-olds, the number rose 3 percent, the foundation said.

"We cannot attend to the looming question of disengaged youth with worn-out answers," Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said in a news release. "Instead, we have to invent new structures and new expectations around which business, government, schoolhouses, faith communities and nonprofits work together."

Kentucky Youth Advocates, based in Louisville, is a nonprofit children's advocacy organization.

The report blames the problem on several factors, including increasing competition from older workers due to the recession, youths who do not graduate high school ready for college, poverty and low-performing schools.

The foundation warns the youths are heading toward a path of chronic unemployment as adults.

The report uses the label "disconnected youth" to describe the group.