How to serve “disconnected” youth
The American Youth Policy Forum paper, “Key Considerations for Serving Disconnected Youth” outlines the type of strategies needed to reach youth who have become “disconnected” from both education and productive employment. The report indicates that in the U.S., 3 out of every 10 students fail to earn a high school diploma and that 5.3 million 15-24 year-olds (16.4 percent of all such youth) are disconnected from both education and the work place at any given point in time. For youth from low-income households, 56 percent are among disconnected youth.
The paper suggests three important strategic approaches:
- Use data to better understand how to engage disconnected youth in matching educational outcomes and postsecondary plans to their needs
- Ensure that educational pathways are relevant to career options, academically rigorous, and adaptive to student needs
- Build cross-sector collaboration and partnerships to develop the services and support that such youth need
Our foundation, which has long recognized such needs and pursued such strategies, has learned that so many youth remain disconnected due to the refusal of schools and school districts to support such strategies.