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Working in Adolescence

Demographic Trends And The Future

Demographic trends at the start of the twenty-first century are likely to increase the difficulty that disadvantaged youths will face in finding their place in the labor market. The total number of sixteen- to twenty-four-year-olds in the nation's population is projected to rise steadily through the year 2010, to 38.7 million, almost 7 million more than in 1995. Along with the expansion in the supply of young workers will be the increase in competition for low wage jobs and the increasingly technological nature of even minimum wage jobs. Thus, there will be a continued high incidence of employment and earning problems among many of the nation's out-of-school youths.

Several steps need to be taken to facilitate the successful transition to employment for disadvantaged and out-of-school youths. First, all youths must be encouraged to stay in school, and schools must provide the literacy and interpersonal skills necessary for successful integration into college, vocational training, and employment. Second, career counseling must be expanded to recognize that many high school seniors will not attend postsecondary education but are ready to pursue meaningful employment experiences. Third, intervention programs that have been proven successful at enhancing the employment experiences of disadvantaged and out-of-school youths need to be made available to all eligible individuals. Fourth, youths in minimum wage jobs need to be encouraged to apply a portion of their earnings to further their education and training. And finally, postsecondary educational opportunities need to be made available to all youths regardless of financial income. With these policies, programs, and practices in place, every youth will have a better chance to achieve the key developmental task of adolescence.


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Amy J. L. Baker

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 8Working in Adolescence - Developmental Roots Of Industry, Identity, And Employment, Advantages And Disadvantages Of Adolescent Employment, Youth Employment For Out-of-school And Disadvantaged Youth