Employers Are Target of New Campaign to Add Young People to Workforce

Posted February 5, 2015
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog employerstargetofnewcampaign 2015

Near­ly 6 mil­lion young adults are out of school and seek­ing work. Forty per­cent of employ­ers say a lack of skills among work­ers is the main rea­son for job vacan­cies, and two-thirds report dif­fi­cul­ty fill­ing open positions.

A new Ad Coun­cil cam­paign encour­ages employ­ers to take a dif­fer­ent approach to hir­ing to help bridge that gap. Through pub­lic ser­vice announce­ments and TV, radio and print ads, the nation­al Grads of Life cam­paign aims to change the busi­ness community’s per­cep­tions of young peo­ple ages 1624 who are out of school and out of work. Many of these young peo­ple, often called oppor­tu­ni­ty youth, may not have work expe­ri­ence or a tra­di­tion­al edu­ca­tion­al his­to­ry, but their life expe­ri­ences have shaped them to be dri­ven and loy­al — with great poten­tial, giv­en an opportunity. 

With 60 per­cent of U.S. jobs requir­ing some col­lege-lev­el study, these young peo­ple will need a post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion to get jobs and high­er wages. We and oth­er fun­ders are sup­port­ing the Grads of Life cam­paign to get more employ­ers involved in the skill devel­op­ment of youth so they are bet­ter pre­pared to meet their needs. 

With more than a dozen employ­ers lead­ing the charge and efforts under­way to recruit more, Grads of Life is focused on get­ting busi­ness­es to con­tribute more direct­ly to devel­op­ing our future work­force. The cam­paign asks employ­ers to con­sid­er four strate­gies to that end: men­tor­ing, intern­ships, short-term train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty and, ulti­mate­ly, hir­ing young peo­ple. It also offers resources for employ­ers on oppor­tu­ni­ty youth, how to cre­ate employ­ment path­ways, the return on invest­ment in work­ing with young peo­ple and best practices. 

Grads of Life ties in direct­ly to Casey’s work focused on help­ing young peo­ple — par­tic­u­lar­ly those hit hard­est and with the great­est need — get back on track to col­lege and careers. Our efforts espe­cial­ly focus on youth who are in low-income fam­i­lies, of col­or or involved with the child wel­fare or juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems, as well as those who are parents.

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