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No School, No Job: CA's "Disconnected Youth" Increasing



December 3, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - No school and no job. A new report finds nearly 20 percent of California's teens and young adults fall into that category. The number of these so-called "disconnected youth" has increased by 35 percent since 2000.

Jessica Mindnich, director of research for Children Now, says the report really points out the vulnerability of this generation of children. She says a lack of education, opportunity and connection to school or work has long-term implications.

"We have to make sure that they develop that basic skill set, you know, that tells you you need to show up to work on time, you need to know what to wear, you need to know how to behave. Those are all basic skills that we develop in our first jobs."

The report released by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now finds employment among America's youth to be at its lowest level since World War II. The state of California is at the bottom of the list.

The report also encourages the need to provide classroom instruction that may lead to a possible career. Mindnich says this "Linked Learning" approach provides traditional classroom instruction with technical skills taught through internships, apprenticeships and school.

"Really tries to connect what's happening in the classroom with technical skills and with real-world experiences, and it's layered with some support services."

Mindnich says this need for real-world work experience is especially true for low-income and minority youths. The report finds that nearly one in three African-American young adults in California is "disconnected."

More information about the report, "Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity," is at www.childrennow.org.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA