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It isn’t a myth that black youth are being left behind. It is a reality and a new study, “One in Seven: Ranking Youth Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas,” has the evidence. The study looked at the number of youth who are disconnected in America. We aren’t talking hi-tech disconnected, but socially disconnected. The government defines a disconnected youth as one who is not in school or working.

“One in Seven” found that youth disconnection is highest in the largest metro areas of the U.S., meaning that African-American teens are the most impacted. According to “One in Seven,”  5.8 million young adults or one in seven young adults, ages 16  to 24, are socially adrift.  The study was conducted by social scientist Sarah Burd Sharps, who said in a press release for the study she co-authored with Kristen Lewis, “One in Seven is a wake-up call to this country. Disconnection can affect everything from earnings and financial independence to physical and mental health, and even marital prospects.”

AOL reports, that the study discovered “African Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rate of youth disconnection at 22.5 percent, a figure that holds significant monetary implications beyond any one racial or ethnic group. Last year alone, youth disconnection cost taxpayers $93.7 billion in government support and lost tax revenue.”

The study didn’t just leave it at presenting the statistics; it also gave recommendations for stopping youth disconnection. It suggests providing  “meaningful support and guidance both to young people aiming for a four-year bachelor’s degree and to those whose interests and career aspirations would be better served by relevant, high-quality career and technical education certificates and associate’s degrees.”  Lewis concluded in the press release, “In today’s economy, everyone needs some education beyond high school, but as a society, we need to rethink the ‘college-for-all’ mantra that devalues and stigmatizes career and technical education. Instead, we should provide robust pathways to postsecondary certificates or associate degree programs for those who choose this route.”

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