WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — About 15 percent of the nation’s young people are neither in school nor working, and the problem is even worse in Tennessee.
The organization Opportunity Nation says about 6 million American youth are idle. The number of idle Tennesseans in the 16 to 24 age bracket stands at 17.5 percent, or nearly 3 percentage points higher than the national average.
Linda O’Neal is the Director of the Tennessee Commission on children and youth. She says missing out on formative experiences may come back to haunt the state’s young people later in life.
“It’s important for young people to have early work experiences that help them develop the kind of skills – personal skills and interpersonal skills – and the understanding of following the rules and showing up on time and things like that that serve them well.”
O’Neal says one of the reasons Tennessee’s youth are having a hard time finding work is that many adults, who lost jobs during the recession, have taken what traditionally have been entry level jobs for young people