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Pathways to high-quality jobs for young adults

Date Added to Library: 
Monday, November 19, 2018 - 14:04
Individual Author: 
Ross, Martha
Moore, Kristin Anderson
Murphy, Kelly
Bateman, Nicole
DeMand, Alex
Sacks, Vanessa
Reference Type: 
Place Published: 
Washington, D.C.
Published Date: 
October 2018
Published Date (Text): 
October 2018

Helping young people prepare to engage in work and life as productive adults is a central challenge for any society. Yet, many young people in the United States find that the path from education to employment and economic security in adulthood is poorly marked or inaccessible. As a result, those from low-income and less educated families have lower rates of high school graduation, college enrollment, and college completion. Moreover, once they enter the labor market, they have lower employment rates and wages. Using an advanced methodology and longitudinal data, this report examines two main questions:

  • the quality of jobs (as measured by wages, benefits, hours, and job satisfaction) held by 29-year-olds who experienced disadvantage in adolescence
  • the particular adolescent and young adulthood employment, education, and training experiences of people from disadvantaged backgrounds that are associated with higher quality jobs at age 29

 Among those who were disadvantaged as adolescents, the vast majority (79 percent) are employed at age 29. Among those workers, 38 percent have high-quality jobs as measured by our job quality index. Their counterparts—29-year olds from non-disadvantaged backgrounds—fare better: 90 percent are employed, and 48 percent of those have high-quality jobs. We identify a number of factors that shape job quality among 29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. (Edited author introduction)

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