Publication Date



Much attention has been devoted to the implications of the aging of the U.S. population for the future supply of labor to the nation’s employers, but little of the discourse about remedies has addressed the younger members of the working-age population. This paper examines issues such as whether the youngest replacements for retiring baby-boomers are being fully utilized in the sense that most teenagers and young adults successfully transition from the classroom to the workplace and which 16-24 year olds are, instead, more likely to impose costs on society rather than contribute to the economy as taxpayers. In addition, the report identifies risk factors for out-of-school and out-of work youth including characteristics of the neighborhoods in which they live, the proximity of those neighborhoods to jobs, and the characteristics of their families. The report concludes that the results of empirical research suggest that a comprehensive youth employment policy would include training programs that provide, among other things, work experience to young students raised in poor inner-city neighborhoods; delinquency prevention measures, particularly for low-income children with incarcerated family and friends; changes to public transportation and to housing patterns to give at-risk youth greater access to areas of job growth; enhanced enforcement of employment and housing discrimination laws; and neighborhood workforce as well as community/economic development initiatives.


Suggested Citation
Levine, L. (2005). Youth: From classroom to workplace? Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.