Of the nation's 20 largest cities, New York has the lowest percentage of working teens - with Blacks and Hispanics the most underrepresented.
Now more than ever, Futures and Options fills a critical need, providing our low-income, minority youth with the training and access they need to compete for jobs. Here's why:
Teens need work. "Every teen group is working at post-World War II lows, but the declines since 2000 have been greater for the youngest teens (16-17), high school students, and low income to low middle income youth."1 Minority, low-income teens are the most affected. Research proves that working in high school motivates youth to graduate, continue their education, and move forward on a path toward a lifetime of self-sufficiency2. Futures and Options helps make this possible.
Disadvantaged youth who do not work in high school have the highest dropout rates. Research by Dr. Andrew Sum, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, illustrates the benefits of youth workforce development - along with the high community and social costs of unemployment for low income, minority teens3.
High school graduates need to be better skilled. A 2006 study by Jill Casner-Lotto & Linda Barrington titled "Are They Really Ready To Work?"4 found the skills of high school graduates lacking. All 10 skills that a majority of employer respondents rated as very important to workforce success were on the Deficiency List. The basic or applied skills deemed most important are Professionalism/Work Ethic, Oral and Written Communications, Teamwork/Collaboration and Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, which are the primary focus areas for the Futures and Options work readiness workshops.
Businesses have a growing need for qualified employees -- and constantly seek untapped resources for talent. New York City needs young people to develop their skills, talent and creativity, and attain the education that will allow them to contribute to the City's robust economy.
Futures and Options is vital to the growth of New York City's economy and workforce of the future.
An early investment in the career preparedness of teens will pay dividends for New York City today and for years to come. In contrast with the City's 63% graduation rate, 99% of Futures and Options' students graduated from high school in 2012 – and 94% of those students pursued higher-education options.
1 Andrew Sum & Joseph McLaughlin. (2010). Dire Straits for Many American Workers: The Economic Case for New Job Creation Strategies in 2010 for the Nation's Teens and Young Adults (20-24). Page 7. Boston, MA: Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University.
2 Dr. Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, Paulo Tobar & Meredith Franks. (2007). Combating High Levels of Teen Joblessness in New York City: The Case for New Job Creation Strategies and Their Financing. Boston, MA: Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University.
3 Dr. Andrew Sum. (2007). The Deteriorating Labor Market and Economic Well Being of the Nation's Teens, Young Adults (20-29 years old) and Young Families: A Renewed Call for National Action. Boston, MA: Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University.
4 Jill Casner-Lotto & Linda Barrington. (2006). Are They Really Ready to Work: Employers' Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce (BED-06-Workforce). USA: The Conference Board, Inc., The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resource Management.