Twelve Ways to Fix the Youth Unemployment Crisis

The Great Recession was particularly devastating for America’s young workers. Nearly 6 million 16- to 24-year-olds neither have jobs nor are pursuing a degree. This disconnect can have a “scarring effect,” which can negatively impact their long-term employment prospects and lifetime earnings.  In her new paper Elisabeth Jacobs analyzes the crisis of youth unemployment and America’s sprawling workforce development system.  She makes recommendations for how to improve America’s higher education systems, apprenticeship programs, paid volunteering programs, primary and secondary education, and tax policy.

In order to address the youth unemployment crisis, policymakers should consider the following proposals:

1.     Fully fund community colleges

2.     Expand and revise the Registered Apprenticeships program at the Department of Labor

3.     Establish Career Internship Standards

4.     Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to younger workers.

5.     Increase the size of the AmeriCorps

6.     Appropriate funds for the Youth Opportunity (YOG) Program

7.     Overhaul school dropout prevention policies by offering them programs that lead to employment

8.     Fully fund and reform Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in high schools

9.     Expand current mentoring programs

10.  Create incentives for public private partnerships to benefit young unemployed people

11.  Seek input from the private sector

12.  Renew the financial commitment to current programs that reconnect young adults to education and employment opportunities.