Graduating from high school is vital to young people’s life chances. Much of the current policy conversation around helping youth stay the course focuses on disconnected youth who are not in school or employed, but there is another group: youth who drop out and work. This brief uses data from the American Community Survey on 16- to 18-year-old youth to describe trends in early employment. The analyses show that young workers contribute substantially to their households, raising important questions about the economic role of youth and future approaches to dropout prevention.
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