Saturday, December 12, 2009

Unemployment Rate Highest for Ages 18-19

  • The national youth employment rate is at its lowest level in 60 years.
  • Nearly four million of the nation's unemployed are under age 25 - and that number does not include the hundreds of thousands of youth who have simply given up looking.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, young adults between ages 18-19 years old have the highest unemployment rate, at 25.6%.
  • The unemployment rate for youth 16-24 years old who have not finished high school is over 30%.

In the aftermath of Ohio budget cuts, some counties are terminating the cases of foster care youth when they turn 18 years old, regardless of whether or not that young person has finished high school.

Due to frequent school changes, some of these young people are only in their junior year of high school.

Imagine being declared an independent adult when you are only a junior in high school. Being unemployed. Without family support. Lacking the money to buy food. Unable to afford housing.

For a young woman, there are programs - but only if she becomes pregnant. For a young man, there is only the local homeless shelter or food pantry.

  • At the very time when our young people are getting ready to launch into adulthood, and share their gifts and  talents with the world, their futures are being short-circuited.

  • If that foster care youth had been sheltered by the state for only one or two years longer, they might at least have a diploma and be able to apply for higher education.

The Campaign for Youth is calling for a National Youth Initiative to create jobs for youth to work, while providing them with the wrap-around education, work skills, and supports that they need.

The Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America is calling for a statewide advocacy strategy to address shortsighted practices that are leading to Ohio foster care youth being pushed out of the nest without sufficient preparation and support.

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