Opportunity Youth Playbook: Strategies for Entering the Workforce

Ensuring Disconnected Young Men of Color Successfully Enter the Workforce is one section of the “Opportunity Youth Playbook: A Guide to Reconnecting Boys and Young Men of Color to Education and Employment.”

The unemployment rate for young people aged 16 to 24 is double that of the national unemployment rate. The numbers are even worse for young men of color who are not in school. According to Measure of America’s report, “Zeroing In on Place and Race,” the employment rate of people in this age group who are out of school is 71.7 percent for whites, 68.7 percent for Latinos, and 46.9 percent for blacks. More than half of black males ages 16 to 24 who are out of school are also not employed. The high rates of youth unemployment is particularly troubling because of the critical role early work experience plays in the lives of opportunity youth and young men of color. The most immediate benefit is a paycheck — many opportunity youth must support their families financially. Long-term benefits are equally important; summer jobs, internships, apprenticeships, and other early work experiences are positively connected to later-life employment and higher wages.