A new report from the state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board says the sick economy is infecting Washington’s young people, with a rising number of young adults who have finished school but have never been able to find a job.
The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board describes itself as is a partnership of business, labor and government, dedicated to helping Washington residents obtain and succeed in family-wage jobs, while meeting employers’ needs for skilled workers. Its report was commissioned by the State Legislature.
A summary of the report, culled from the board’s press release:
- The recession-battered job market has left many Washington young adults, 18-24, unable to land their first job. Over 75,000 young adults are neither attending school nor working.
- Early in 2010, when Washington’s unemployment rate was 10 percent for adults 25 to 64 years of age, the rate for young adults was more than 22 percent, the report states. Studies show young people who enter the labor market in a recession are at risk of not moving forward in their chosen careers, lowering their lifetime earnings and delaying milestones, such as buying a home, getting married and having children.
- The “disconnected” (not working, not attending school) population represents over 13 percent of the state’s young adult population.
- The greatest portion of this group (80 percent), have education that stops at high school.
- Young men are more likely than young women to be out of work and out of school.
The report highlights the importance of providing work experience through volunteer and community service opportunities, noting “work does not have to be paid to be valuable for youth.”
“Even during good times, young people struggle with significantly higher unemployment rates that can be double that of other workers,” said Workforce Board Executive Director Eleni Papadakis. “The recent recession has only widened that gap, making it that much more difficult for youth to get the type of experience that builds positive work habits and focuses them on career planning.”