“Disconnected youth” are young adults between 16 and 24 years old that are neither working nor studying. This is a population that has been poorly served by the education system, often failing to retain them as students. As a result, they reach the labor force without the academic and soft skills that would enable them to become self-sufficient.
Disconnected youth are twice as likely to live in poverty, three times as likely to have left high school without a diploma, and half as likely to hold a bachelor’s degree. Disconnected female youth are more than three times as likely to have a child. Nationwide, the cost to taxpayers was $26.8 billion in 2013 alone, just taking into account increased use of public benefits.Connecticut currently has more than 46,000 disconnected youth, with a disproportionate overrepresentation of racial minorities:
if the numbers for the state as a whole are worrisome, the gap is even large in two of our largest metro areas, New Haven and Hartford. These cities are ranked third and fourth nationwide on percentage of disconnected Latino youth:
CAHS has long worked in programs that support this population (developmental and adult education, apprenticeships). Now with Opportunity Connecticut we will be looking at the structural causes behind theses disparities.