Are teen jobs becoming a luxury good?

-Philip Taylor Photo
-Philip Taylor Photo

The provocative headline in a Boston Globe article last month prompted a needed reality check. We’ve all heard the news about the dismal state of teen employment here in MA as well as in the rest of the country. Here’s the real news: teen unemployment is now much more concentrated among low-income teens.

Teens and young adults living in families with incomes below $20,000 are 3 times as likely to be disconnected—that is out of school and out of work—as teens and young adults in the highest-income families (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013). This statistic makes a strong case for more investment in public dollars to support teens and young adults who need access to jobs.

Read more about what the Massachusetts subsidized teen employment program called YouthWorks is doing to help teens from low-income communities to gain work experience, job search skills, and exposure to career pathways.

YouthWorks is designed to provide teens and young adults, (14 to 21), with their first employment experiences, work-readiness training, and the skills to find and keep an unsubsidized job. The program, run in 31 cities, supports both a summer jobs program and a school-year program for older youth. Each year approximately 20% of the program’s work placements go to teens and young adults who are court-involved, in foster care, or who are homeless.

To help young people get the skills that employers say they need, the YouthWorks program has developed a skill-building program called Signaling Success. YouthWorks participants around the state will be taking part in the Signaling Success curriculum this summer in an effort to help them transition to employer-paid job opportunities. This is a community wide effort that depends on solid youth workforce development providers and local business champions.

We’ll be blogging about what young people are learning and doing as part of the Signaling Success curriculum this summer. Stay tuned!

See the Boston Globe Article

Learn more about the skills young people are learning in their YouthWorks job placements in this video clip produced by PressPass TV.

Find out what the YouthWorks program looks like through the profiles of teen workers in the YouthWorks annual report.

Explore ways to create pathways that blend employment, education, training and supportive services for young people who need it the most.