According to Measure of America's most recent report, Nationwide 11.7% of young people in this age group are not connected to either school or employment, while 16.4% of youth are disconnected in Santa Fe County. Locally, a survey called the Reconnecting Youth Survey was conducted in Fall 2017 at locations where opportunity youth tend to congregate within the greater Santa Fe area, as well as select locations within Santa Fe County. This survey included respondents between the ages of 14 and 26 years of age, and data was gathered based on the responses that the interviewees provided. The survey included questions on housing, employment, income, drug and alcohol use, challenges related to school and employment, and several other categories.
With regard to education, 61% of the respondents surveyed were not enrolled in school, nor were they taking high-school equivalency coursework. Of this subpopulation of interviewees, 26.9% were between the ages of 14 and 18.
Of respondents aged 19 to 26, those who were enrolled in schooling of some sort (e.g., high-school equivalency courses or courses offered at a post-secondary institution) were 1.77 times as likely to say that obtaining a diploma was “very important” when compared to their non-enrolled counterparts. The largest challenges related to school for respondents aged 19 to 26 were inadequate transportation, other family responsibilities, poor grades, or having to work rather than going to school.
The effects of being disconnected ripples through the community. There is a social cost which impacts the community in multiple ways including though social services, the criminal justice system, and employment. Financially, young adults who are not in school or working cost taxpayers $93 billion annually and $1.6 trillion over their lifetimes in lost revenues and increased social services. The information collected in these surveys comes directly from the voices of the youth we as a community are trying to serve; they know what they need. Moving forward we hope this information is used to improve the outcomes for these youth.
See the Full Data Brief on Education Statistics by Age Group