Opportunity Youth

(Re)Connecting Students to Education and the Workforce

four students studying

In 2018, approximately 4.35 million youth ages 16-24 were disconnected from both school and the workforce. Both education and employment are well-established indicators of health and overall well-being, so a disconnect from either poses short- and long-term health risks. As a result, these youth — representing more than 11% of their age group — are more likely to experience poor life outcomes and die prematurely from preventable conditions.

Working in partnership with school leaders and community partners, school-based health centers can play a key role in not only assessing and addressing many of the social determinants that lead youth to disconnect, but also strengthening the protective factors needed to make reengagement more likely.

Native, Black and Latinx youth are overrepresented in the disconnected population.
In 2018:

• approximately 25% of Native youth, 18% of Black youth and 13% of Latinx youth were disconnected;

• compared to 9.4% of white youth and 6.6% of Asian American/Pacific Islander youth.