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Report: Thousands of Young Marylanders “Disconnected”

PHOTO: A new Kids Count report finds 73,000 young Marylander are out of school and out of work, and suggests solutions to helping young people prepare for the workforce. Photo courtesy of Annie E. Casey Foundation.
PHOTO: A new Kids Count report finds 73,000 young Marylander are out of school and out of work, and suggests solutions to helping young people prepare for the workforce. Photo courtesy of Annie E. Casey Foundation.
December 3, 2012

BALTIMORE - No job. No school. Iffy future. More than 73,000 young Marylanders are "disconnected" from education and work. A Kids Count report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds more than 6 million teens and young adults nationwide are out of school and out of work.

National Kids Count director Laura Speer says early work experiences are part of the coming of age process, and explains that a first job is about more than just a paycheck.

"It's about learning things like that you have to show up to work on time, how to work with a boss, how to get along with your coworkers, how to solve problems without your parents there to do it for you. These are really important skills that you get with your first job."

The number of young people disconnected is at its highest level since World War II. Speer says in many areas, there are simply no jobs available, and in others, the skill sets needed for first jobs are more than what is being taught in school.

She says while government has a role to play in a myriad of solutions, such as tax incentives, they have found that many businesses are helping on their own, and need more encouragement. Johns Hopkins University is one example.

"They've hired many young people from the community right out of high school and trained them to do entry-level IT work, and really train them to be the IT department that they need at Hopkins."

Other solutions include education reform to focus more on the high skills needed for work out of high school, more assistance for young people to afford higher education, and micro-enterprise funding for young-adult businesses.

The full report, "YOUTH AND WORK: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity," is at www.aecf.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD