“Now Jobs” Prepare Young Adults for Long-Term Success

Posted July 6, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Many young people, especially young people of color, live in communities lacking strong schools, reliable public transportation options and family-sustaining jobs. Some of these individuals are also juggling family responsibilities or venturing into the world of work without the aid of adult mentors.

The unemployment rate for individuals ages 16 to 29 tops 8% — more than double the national unemployment rate.

It's a challenging landscape — one where a category of work called "now jobs" can play an important role in preparing young adults for success, according to a new report from the Aspen Institute.

The publication, which gleans lessons learned from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Generation Work initiative, explains how "now jobs" can help young adults address their immediate income needs while also preparing them for long-term career opportunities. These jobs can take a variety of forms, including short- and long-term internships and subsidized employment arrangements. The report, Now Jobs in Young Adult Workforce Programming, recognizes "now jobs" for:

  • offering valuable work experience to young adults who have never had a job;
  • providing opportunities to learn about workplace norms and practice conflict-resolution strategies; and
  • helping young people explore their strengths, talents and interests while expanding their professional networks.

Many workforce programs — including those in two Generation Work partnerships — are incorporating a "now job" approach to support young people as they develop the skills and credentials needed to land higher-paying positions.

“When incorporated as part of a continuum of services and supports, 'now jobs' can be a powerful tool to get more young adults on the pathway to careers,” says Allison Gerber, a senior associate at the Casey Foundation.

Read the report