This brief examines issues with employment that boys and young men of color experience and was prepared for the, "Investing in Boys and Young Men of Color: The Promise and Opportunity," briefing held on June 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. The brief includes data providing the national context, promising program models, and strategies for moving forward.
  • A key predictor of consistent employment in adulthood is early exposure to the world of work in the teen years. Youth who are employed are more likely to stay in school and graduate high school, and they tend to have higher earnings in young adulthood.
  • Youth employment is 17 percentage points lower than it was 25 years ago. Unemployment is an even bigger problem for young people of color. The unemployment rate for black males, ages 16 to 19, is 49 percent, compared with 26 percent for white males. The unemployment rate for black males, ages 20 to 25, is 29 percent, compared with 14 percent for white males.
  • Federal youth employment and training programs only serve a fraction of the number of young people who could benefit from them, but they are showing demonstrable, positive outcomes.
  • Communities should use a menu of employment options -- from work exposure and entry-level jobs to career pathway strategies -- to respond to labor demand and emerging work opportunities for which young men are prepared.