Connecting Young Adults to Employment: Results from a National Survey of Service Providers
Author(s): Jain, Ranita; Conway, Maureen; and Choitz, Vickie.
Organizational Author(s): Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Aspen Institute
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Resource Availability: Publicly available
Presents findings from a survey of over 340 organizations that connect young adults with employment, and describes the types of employment services they provide, the most common jobs young adults hold, which jobs they think are best for young adults, and the challenges the organizations face linking young adults to good jobs.
The report showcases findings from a web-based survey of organizations “that provide services to young adults (ages 18-29) to connect them to employment” (p.11). The survey was conducted in 2015 by AspenWSI and aimed to answer the following research questions:
· “What types of organizations are serving young adult populations?
· What young adult populations are served by these organizations?
· What types of employment-related services do they provide to young adults?
· To what kinds of paid, regular employment opportunities do they connect young adults?
· What do these organizations consider to be a good job opportunity for young adults, and why?
· Who do these organizations consider to be good employers for young adults, and why?
· What are the challenges to helping young adults connect to paid, regular employment opportunities?” (p.11).
The authors conducted the survey because “nearly 6.7 million young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of school and out of work. The July 2015 young adult unemployment rate was 12.2 percent, more than double the national average of 5.3 percent. Unemployment is even more acute for young people of color, particularly for African American young adults, who have an unemployment rate of 20.7 percent…
There are a range of organizations — youth development organizations, public workforce agencies, community-based organizations, educational institutions, and others — who are working hard to provide young adults with the skills and connections needed to succeed in today’s labor market” (p.4).
“Close to 400 individuals, representing 340 organizations across the United States, responded to the survey. A little over half of those organizations…are youth development organizations (13 percent) or nonprofit workforce development providers (42 percent). In addition, close to 30 percent of the responses are from Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) (11 percent); one-stop job centers (3 percent); educational institutions, including community colleges (9 percent); and school districts (3 percent). Other responding organizations included government agencies, apprenticeship training programs, ex-offender service providers, foundations, and funder collaboratives” (p.4).(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)
Major Findings & Recommendations
“Overall, providers noted offering a comprehensive range of services in helping connect young adults to employment. The top reported services were:
• Job search and placement services: Résumé development (83 percent), job-search assistance (82 percent), interview coaching (82 percent), and career counseling (79 percent);
• Job-skills and prerequisites training: Financial literacy (71 percent), critical thinking and problem solving (70 percent), communication and conflict resolution (70 percent), time management (67 percent), and high school diploma preparation (66 percent);
• Occupational training and higher education services: Work-based learning (63 percent), certificate or licensing (56 percent), and noncredit occupational training (52 percent); and
• Support services: Case management (73 percent), financial literacy (63 percent), community service opportunities (61 percent), and appropriate interview attire (60 percent).
Providers emphasized that the most necessary and helpful services to support young adults’ connections to the labor market are case management, connection to a caring adult, and assistance with transportation…
The top reported industries targeted for young adults are:
• Construction (56 percent);
• Transportation or warehousing (56 percent);
• Manufacturing (53 percent);
• Health care (51 percent);
• Retail (48 percent); and
• Restaurant and food service (46 percent).
…Providers offered their thoughts on what they consider a meaningful employment opportunity for young adults. The top five job qualities noted as important for their young adult clients are:
• Stable employment (not contract or temporary employment) (72 percent);
• Self-sufficiency or family-supporting wages (65 percent);
• Full-time jobs (61 percent);
• Opportunities for advancement and pay increases (56 percent); and
• Predictable, set hours (48 percent).
…Providers reported a variety of challenges to helping connect young adults to these job opportunities. The primary challenges that providers characterized as either a big challenge or somewhat a challenge for young adults are:
• Lack of reliable transportation to and from work (85 percent);
• Lack of sufficient socio-emotional or behavioral skills (79 percent);
• Lack of sufficient occupational skills or credentials (77 percent); and
• Lack of secondary credentials (70 percent)” (p.5-6).