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." 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-sufficiency. 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 teens.
High school graduates need to be better skilled. A 2006 study by Jill Casner-Lotto & Linda Barrington titled "Are They Really Ready To Work?" 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 65% graduation rate, 99% of Futures and Options' students graduated from high school in 2014 and 94% of those students are pursuing higher-education.