Meet the millions of young adults who are out of work

Apr 10, 2019 by

Youth out of work gifMartha

Ross and Natalie Holmes –

Helping young people prepare to engage in work and life as productive adults is a central challenge for any society. In theory, the path to employment providing financial security in adulthood is simple: finish high school, enroll in and complete college or training that is affordable and a good fit, gain some work experience along the way, and launch a career. But given that 17 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 are out of work in mid to large cities in the U.S., totaling 2.3 million young people, this path does not appear to work equally well for all, particularly in light of the effects of the Great Recession and the declining rates of employment among teens and young adults since about 2000.

Though millions of young Americans are out of work, they are not monolithic. We used cluster analysis to segment out-of-work young adults into five groups, represented by personas included below, likely to benefit from similar types of employment and educational assistance. We grouped young people together based on similarities in their work history, educational attainment, school enrollment, English language proficiency, family status, and other characteristics. Lastly, the report provides recommendations for state, local, civic, and institutional leaders to help all young people successfully navigate the transition into the labor market.

Meet the out of work

For each of the five groups we created in our cluster analysis, we developed two to three fictionalized personas to illustrate young people’s different circumstances and needs.

Click or double-tap a group to jump to its detailed profile

continue: Meet the millions of young adults who are out of work

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