Youth Pathways to Postsecondary Success and Careers

Young people, particularly low-income youth and youth of color, have long experienced difficulty in the labor market because of economic conditions, educational inequality, persistent discrimination, structural racism, and other factors. Changes in the economy have exacerbated these challenges and today, the average monthly unemployment rate for youth ages 16 to 19 is 18.3 percent, compared with 5.4 percent for the US population overall. Black and Latino youth are even worse off, with unemployment rates of 34.0 percent and 22.4 percent, respectively. Many of these unemployed youth are not attending school. Approximately 6.7 million people ages 16 to 24 in the United States are neither enrolled in school nor working. Increasingly, governments, foundations, and nonprofits have made investments in alternative approaches to education and work experience that create pathways to college and career success for "disconnected" youth and other young people who are struggling in traditional educational environments or the workplace.

The Urban Institute is working to understand the programs and strategies that can help meet the needs of this population through rigorous evaluations and by bringing evidence from our work and the field to inform the development and implementation of effective strategies. 


Building Alaska’s Science and Engineering Pipeline
January 2015 research report by Hamutal Bernstein, Carlos Martín, Lauren Eyster, Theresa Anderson, Stephanie Owen, and Ananda Martin-Caughey

Evaluation of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP)
​January 2015 research report by Hamutal Bernstein, Carlos Martín, Lauren Eyster, Theresa Anderson, Stephanie Owen, and Ananda Martin-Caughey

Expanding Economic Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color through Employment and Training
February 2015 research report by Shayne Spaulding, Robert I. Lerman, Harry Holzer, and Lauren Eyster

​Supporting Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care, Issue Brief 3: Employment Programs
March 2015 brief by Sara Edelstein and Christopher Lowenstein

​Dropping Out and Clocking In: A Portrait of Teens Who Leave School Early and Work
April 2015 brief by Molly M. Scott, Simone Zhang, and Heather Koball

​Youth Apprenticeship: A Hopeful Approach for Improving Outcomes for Baltimore Youth
May 2015 research report by Robert I. Lerman and Arnold Packer

Solutions for Youth: An Evaluation of the Latin American Youth Center's Promotor Pathway Program
April 2016 research report by Brett Theodos, Mike Pergamit, Alexandra Derian, Sara Edelstein, and Allison Stolte

Dropping Out, Clocking In, and Falling Behind: What Happens to Youth Who Work and Drop Out?
April 2016 brief by Sierra Latham, Molly M. Scott, and Heather Koball

Realizing Employment Goals for Youth through Digital Badges: Lessons and Opportunities from Workforce Development
​May 2016 research report by Shayne Spaulding and Martha C. Johnson

Embarking on College and Career: Interim Evaluation of Urban Alliance
May 2016 research report by Brett Theodos, Mike Pergamit, Devlin Hanson, Sara Edelstein, and Rebecca Daniels

Urban Wire blog posts

How Can We Better Connect Youth to Work and School? Five Lessons for Youth Employment Programs
September 2014 blog post by Sara Edelstein

Dropping out and clicking in
April 2015 blog post by Molly M. Scott

​A DataCamp to help the 7 million young people who are out of work and out of school
June 2015 blog post by Jonathan Schwabish

​Expanding economic opportunity for boys and young men of color through summer work experience opportunities
May 2016 blog post by Shayne Spaulding and Don Baylor

How cities are expanding access to college and careers in the digital age
May 2016 blog post by Don Baylor

Urban Alliance internship program improves job skills and college attendance for disadvantaged youth
May 2016 blog post by Sara Edelstein

​School choice as an antipoverty strategy
June 2016 blog post by Matthew Chingos

Connecting learners to careers
July 2016 blog post by Hamutal Bernstein


Using Data to Help Low-Income Youth Find Jobs
May 2015 event

Badging the Future: Can Digital Credentials Create Pathways to Careers and College for Today's Youth?
May 2016 event

Related Projects

Bridging the Gap  |  Accelerating Opportunity  |  Local Workforce System  |  Financing Public Higher Education | Cities of LRNG