California News

Dec 5, 2012 9:15 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Nearly 850,000 of California's young people are not working or in school


The number of California's young people ages 16 to 24 who are not working and not in school is on the rise, according to a new report by Children Now and the Anne E. Casey Foundation.

This translates to about 18 percent of the state's youth population.

Jesse Poncelet is a 24-year-old college grad and he is not part of these statistics, but for this musician passion outweighs practicality.

"There's a lot of people in the same boat. I have a lot of friends who live with their parents still," said Poncelet, who lives with his parents in Atascadero.

Moving back in with the folks is a phenomenon the research group Children Now is seeing more and more.

"This is a problem because this generation is trying to get their strong hold into the workforce and without experience they are going to suffer in the long term," said Jessica Mindnich, who is the Director of Research at Children Now.

There are 6.5 million so-called "disconnected youth" nationwide, this represents the lowest unemployment rate since World War II, according to Children Now.

"There's two stories going on here there's those youth who are educated they went to college and now they are graduating and they can't get jobs because they are competing with more experienced workers. And we also have the youth who are high school graduates or who are high school drop outs," said Mindnich.

According to the state's scorecard, in San Luis Obispo county 13 percent don't finish high school in four years. In Santa Barbara county it's 17 percent. Meanwhile, California's lowest is Inyo county where 67 percent of high school students don't graduate.

"These are youth and we need to make sure that every single one of them is graduating from highschool and is college and career ready," said Mindnich.

One way some California schools are battling this problem is through linked learning, which helps get students out of the classroom and into the real world through internships.

It took Poncelet months to find a job, and he is grateful to have landed one, even if it's temporary.

"I could move out now, but I am spending all my money on band equipment," said Poncelet.

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