ERIC Identifier: ED260362
Publication Date: 1984-00-00
Author: LeRoy, Barbara, Comp.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.

Unemployed Youth: Counseling Issues. In Brief: An Information Digest from ERIC/CAPS.

Unemployment among young people is a serious and persistent problem; more than 20% of youths aged 16 to 19 are currently unemployed. Unemployment rates rise to more than 50% among members of minority groups, high school dropouts, and youths in economically disadvantaged areas.

REASONS FOR YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

Youth unemployment is largely determined by the uncertainty of products, resources, and social influences. Individual factors associated with unemployment include academic, mechanical, and employability skill deficits; and race, age, and sex discrimination.

Social and industrial factors include the size of the youth population, shortage of job opportunities, technological revolutions in the marketplace, unequal distribution between jobs and available young workers, legislative disincentives, and poor economic conditions. Youths are negatively affected by all types of unemployment--structural, seasonal, cyclical, and frictional.

EFFECTS OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

Unemployment has destabilizing consequences both for society and for the individual. Youth unemployment affects the Gross National Product through lost production, the effect on ecomomic output, and the large sums spent on social support programs.

Costs to the individual include lost earnings, lost interest in future employment efforts, loss of credibility in the workplace, and psychological problems, including mental stress, despair, alienation, family pathology, and suicide. Secondary personal costs include those associated with the effects of unproductive time: crime, vandalism, and drug and alcohol abuse, for example.

COUNSELOR ROLE: SCHOOL-TO-WORK TRANSITIONS

Although young people rely more on familial and social resources for job information and opportunities, the school counselor can take an active role in helping youth acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills which comprise both general and specific employablility.

General employability refers to the skills necessary for gaining and maintaining a job (work behaviors, social development, physical endurance, and academic skills). Specific employability relates to keeping a job by being able to perform specific tasks on that job.

The counselor can also serve as a community liaison, program and curriculum innovator and developer, youth advocate, family interventionist, and value and needs facilitator for young people in transition. The school curriculum has a crucial role in developing students' decisionmaking skills by offering competency-based, experiential learning modules on career orientation, personal inventory taking, resume production, and job seeking campaigns.

VOCATIONAL ADJUSTMENT

Successful adjustment to work is a matter of sequentially adjusting to job performance, organization, interpersonal relations, responsibility, and affect. For youths, work entry problems cluster around job performance, access to the job, and managing a career.

Effective counseling services address the pre-transition problems of work selection and co-worker and family issues; the transition diffulties of adjusting to the work site; and the post-transition concerns about the role, status, lifestyle versus job requirements, and community adjustments.

INTERVENTION STRATEGIES

Intervention strategies have traditionally fallen into five program categories: school, government, industry, community, and generic economic schemes. School-based programs have attempted to provide on-the-job-training experiences in combination with classroom learning.

Government-sponsored programs, such as the Manpower Development and Training Act, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act, and the Job Training Partnership Act, have attempted to provide opportunities and incentives to the marketplace.

Industry-initiated programs such as those at IBM and General Electric have provided job training within industry for those youths who meet their program criteria. Community programs have attempted to extend and fill the gaps left by government-sponsored programs. Economic schemes, such as alterations in the minimum wage or sub-minimum wage programs, have attempted to alleviate youth unemployment through financial incentives to potential employers.

CURRENT NEEDS

To facilitate employment, collaborative efforts and structures to match employer needs with employee needs and skills must be undertaken. Effective programs require a dual, yet integrated focus:

--The role of various mechanisms and facilities needs to be expanded through apprenticeship training, mandatory occupational skill training, post-secondary technical schools, sheltered enclaves within industry, and further monetary incentives to employers

--Industry and education should form collaborative planning boards to expand vocational opportunities and innovations, to develop work-life curricula, to add vocational placement personnel to school-based counseling programs, and to provide readily accessible, online occupational information to young people

FOR MORE INFORMATION

American Personnel and Guidance Association. CAREER GUIDANCE: ROLE AND FUNCTIONS OF COUNSELING AND GUIDANCE PRACTITIONERS IN CAREER EDUCATION. Washington, D.C.: American Personnel and Guidance Association, 1975.

Barton, P. E., B. S. Frazer. BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: YOUTH TRANSITION FROM SCHOOL TO WORK. RESEARCH ON YOUTH EMPLOYMENT AND EMPLOYABILITY DEVELOPMENT. Washington, D.C.: National Institute for Work and Learning. ED 203 058.

Butler, E. P., and others. FOCUSING BETTER ON YOUTH: LEGISLATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE FIELD. A REPORT FROM THE NATIONAL YOUTH PRACTITIONER'S NETWORK. Washington, D.C.: Department of Labor. ED 213 989.

Ford Foundation. NOT WORKING: UNSKILLED YOUTH AND DISPLACED ADULTS. A WORKING PAPER. New York: Ford Foundation, 1984. ED 236 332.

Herr, E. L., T. E. Long. COUNSELING YOUTH FOR EMPLOYABILITY: UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL. Ann Arbor: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services, 1983.

Levin, H. M. "Youth Unemployment and its Education Consequences. EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION AND POLICY ANALYSIS 5 (2):231-247.

Passmore, D. L. BARRIERS TO YOUTH EMPLOYMENT University Park: Pennsylvania State University, 1982. ED 218 503.

United States Congress. EFFECTS OF ADMINISTRATION'S FISCAL YEAR 1984 BUDGET ON TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984. ED 233 181.

Vice President's Task Force on Youth Employment. A SUMMARY OF THE VICE PRESIDENT'S TASK FORCE ON YOUTH EMPLOYMENT. Washington, D.C.: Vice President's Task Force on Youth Employment, 1980. ED 194 248.

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