More than 30,000 youth in Portland-SW Washington not in school and not working
April 14, 2016
A report released by the three workforce development boards that serve the Portland-SW Washington metropolitan area finds approximately 30,157 individuals ages 16 to 24 are not in school and not employed.
The report, distributed by the Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative (CWWC), looks at characteristics of these individuals that represent 28 percent of all young people ages 16 to 24 not enrolled in school in the six-county region (Clackamas, Clark, Cowlitz, Multnomah, Wahkiakum and Washington) served by the CWWC.
Dubbed "Opportunity Youth" by the White House Council on Community Solutions, these young people represent an important workforce resource for the local economy.
"This report identifies key demographic information and barriers faced by Opportunity Youth in our region," said Bridget Dazey, Executive Director of the Clackamas Workforce Partnership. "We wanted to have a better understanding of the young people in our region, their needs and challenges," said Jeanne Bennett, CEO of the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC). "These individuals are a key population identified in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation to receive services."
"Having and sharing this information enables us to have conversations within our respective agencies and externally with partners to identify services and resources needed by these youth," said Andrew McGough, Worksystems' Executive Director.
Non-white and non-Hispanic youth are generally over represented among Opportunity Youth. This over-representation is most prominently seen among black youth. Although only six percent of Opportunity Youth are black, 23 percent of all black youth in the region are Opportunity Youth.