Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has published a new report describing how pandemic-era demand for workers intersects with the longer-term trend of a “deteriorating” labor market for young adults. The authors identify the “dot-com” bubble recession of 2001, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 recession as discrete events in shaping youth employment prospects. Further, they note that longer-term economic shifts mean employers favor workers with greater technical knowledge and more experience over young workers. The paper also notes the racial-ethnic disparities in the share of young adults who are disconnected from work and school, at 12 percent for white youths age 16-21 and 17 percent for Black youths. To address the longrunning challenge, the authors propose an “all-in-one” system that builds a pipeline from pre-kindergarten to employment without silos. The authors suggest multiple strategies for creating the pipeline, including recognizing the complementary nature of classroom learning, occupational exploration, and work-based learning from kindergarten to college; or offering field trips and career days to children, apprenticeships and cooperative extension opportunities to high schoolers, and paid internships and enhanced work-study opportunities to college students, all in service of building a modern network for young adult success.
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