The national unemployment rate is 5.5 percent, but among America’s youth, that figure more than doubles. More than 14 percent of people aged 16-24 in America are without jobs. For minorities, the numbers are even higher: 24 percent of young African Americans are jobless, as are 16 percent of Hispanic youth. However, programs such as Year-Up could help close this gap. Founded in 2000, Year-Up’s mission is to identify low-income 16- to 24-year-olds who are motivated but lack opportunity. The program helps them make the transition from “poverty to professional careers in tech fields in the mainstream economy” in one year or less. These programs operate in major cities across the country, including New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. The program selects recent high school graduates to participate in a year-long education process. The first six months involves teaching students vital technical and business skills, while the second six months places students in internships. Gary Beach, former publisher of CIO magazine, says that by partnering with such programs, the nation’s chief information officers can play an important role in closing the skills gap for youth in America.
Closing the Skills Gap for America’s Youth