Hundreds of people who care about Phoenix-area youth and the future of Arizona are coming together Wednesday, October 15, 2014, to take the first steps toward re-engaging disconnected youth —those young adults not in school or in a job— at the Maricopa County Education Service Agency’s second Disconnected Youth Summit.
The issue of disconnected youth in the region came to the forefront of education discussion through the past two years after Measure of America released a study showing that the Phoenix-metropolitan area had the highest percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds not in school or in a job out of the 25 largest metro areas in the nation at 18.8 percent.
The consequences of having a high number of disconnected youth touch everyone in the region. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Youth and Work Policy Report, disconnected youth are more likely to experience unemployment later in life and are “less likely to achieve higher levels of career attainment.”
That affects local unemployment rates, poverty levels, crime rates and neighborhood development, along with other statistics.
MCESA held its first Disconnected Youth Summit in May, bringing together about 200 people from a variety of sectors to explore the issue of disconnected youth and hear a bit about strategies other communities are using to combat this issue.
At this upcoming Disconnected Youth Summit, people representing social service, education, business and civic agencies will join together to learn more about what strategies have worked in other areas and look at how to be successful in local initiatives. Attendees will leave knowing what steps to take next to join this movement.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said during the first summit that the community needs to take this issue to heart.
“They are not somebody else’s problem. They are not somebody else’s issue,” Stanton said. “They are all of our issue… It’s all of our issue to roll up our sleeves and be responsive to it.”
The second Disconnected Youth Summit will be Wednesday, Oct. 15, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Desert Willow Conference Center, 4340 East Cotton Center Boulevard, Phoenix. To register, visit www.maricopa.gov/schools.