Economic Development

Innovating to Strengthen Youth Employment

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Across the U.S. and around the world, the staggering problem of youth unemployment can be difficult to judge accurately because many young people have yet to enter the workforce. What we do know is that unemployment among the young is greater than 50 percent in countries such as Greece and Spain, and perhaps greater than 30 percent in some cities and states in the U.S.


In my recent article “Innovating to Strengthen Youth Employment” (Innovations, MIT Press, October 2013), I examine the following factors to shed some light on the causes of youth unemployment and how communities, educators and employers can address them:

  • What are the roots of youth unemployment, and why is it that increased high school graduation rates have not translated into greater employment and earnings?
  • Where are the jobs, and what types and levels of training are (and will be) required for young people to participate in the 21st century economy?
  • How can we drive innovation across an educational system that hasn’t evolved significantly since the Second World War?
  • What are the pathways to prosperity that can clarify and streamline the next generation’s journey from high school to college and career?
  • Where should we begin to ensure that proven programs for success are properly funded and made available to all?

The answers may surprise you. But even more encouraging is the fact that addressing and overcoming these challenges is well within our reach. If we allocate the proper resources and make strategic use of programs already in place, we will realize significant and quantifiable benefits.

Related Resources:

DOWNLOAD: Innovating to Strengthen Youth Employment

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