Valley Has High Percentage Of 'Disconnected Youth'

May 16, 2014

The Valley has a problem with the number of teenagers and young adults who are neither in school nor working. The region has among the highest percentages in the country of so-called disconnected youth, between the ages of 16 and 24.

Kristen Lewis is Co-Director of Measure of America, which is a project of the Social Science Research Council, and has written on this subject. Last fall, her research ranked Phoenix fourth among major metro areas in terms of the most disconnected kids - two years ago, Phoenix was the worst. Lewis says this isn’t a new phenomenon nationally.

With the Valley’s ranking, groups here have been trying to reduce the percentage of disconnected kids. One of them is the Helios Education Foundation, which has helped give mayors statewide a forum to talk about the issue.

Barbara Ryan-Thompson is Helios’ Chief Operating Officer, and says a key goal is to get kids who have disconnected to re-engage.