Just Released: Workforce Development for Vulnerable Youth: Lessons from Two National Studies

In a new white paper published by the BU Initiative on Cities (IOC), Mary Collins, Professor at the BU School of Social Work (BU SSW), and Adrianna Spindle-Jackson, PhD Student at the BU SSW, summarize key results of two studies, conducted by a team at the BU SSW between April 2020 and March 2021, to understand how workforce development boards address the needs of vulnerable youth. In addition to presenting findings from these studies, Collins and Spindle-Jackson offer ideas for next steps.

Young people who are neither in school nor working have been termed ‘disconnected’ or more optimistically ‘opportunity’ youth (Burds-Sharps & Lewis, 2018). The challenges for these youth are well known. If youth are not building needed skills during adolescence and young adulthood, the risks of long-term disadvantage are severe (Lewis & Gluskin, 2019). Race, gender, geography, and many other characteristics impact the likelihood of disconnection and its negative effects.

Read the white paper

This work was supported by the IOC through an Early Stage Urban Research Award in 2020, as well as by the Institute for Research on Poverty at University of Wisconsin-Madison.