Here are a couple of the challenges we’ve set out to address:
In St. Louis, as with the nation, we have a growing number of available jobs and a growing shortage of skilled workers. Over the last five years, the US economy has added five million net new jobs, yet over 11 million Americans remain unemployed.1
One major reason for this is the skills gap – employers have jobs they need to fill, but our workforce lacks the needed skills to fill them. Check out this video by one of our investors that explains the causes and solutions of the skills gap.
of Employers Struggle to Fill Jobs
If we are to build a strong and growing region, we must have a strong workforce. If we’re going to have a strong workforce, we must ensure that we’re strategically equipping the workforce of tomorrow with the skills they’ll need to compete.
At STL Youth Jobs, we practice an innovative solution called demand-driven skill building. We identify areas of growing demand in our region, recruit employers from these high-growth industries, and offer youth employment opportunities that equip them with the skills and experience they need to excel in those industries.
The result? We’re creating job-ready youth, who are ready to work in industries that are ready to hire them. We’re investing today in the workforce of tomorrow.
Youth unemployment is a growing problem and it threatens the future of our workforce, which threatens the success of our region. The youth in our city have a higher unemployment rate than any other working group.
On a national scale, Employment rates showed a ‘Great Age Twist’ between 2000 and 2011. Individuals under age 54 were less likely to be working in 2011 than in 2000, while those 55 and over were more likely to be working in 2011.2
Over the last 10 years youth employment has dropped by 20 percentage points.
If our youth don’t have the opportunity to work, how will they envision themselves as contributors to our society? How will they learn basic workplace behavior and gain a vision for their life’s work? How will they learn to manage money or be motivated to attain education and increase their opportunities?
We always say our youth are our future and we have to ensure that future is bright. One of our major priorities as a city is addressing the rising youth unemployment rate.
– Mayor Francis Slay
Nearly 40,000 young people in our city are neither working nor in school – we call them “unengaged youth.” Research shows that unengaged youth create a huge tax on society. Though they represent only 17.3% of all youth, they commit 63% of all youth crime.
The average unengaged youth costs taxpayers an average of $215,580 over the course of their lifetime.3
We believe that these youth simply need an opportunity to create a better life. For many of them, that opportunity begins with employment. Research shows that employment has a transformative effect on many important indicators. We believe that our future workforce is ready and waiting to work, and that given the opportunity many of these unengaged youth will rise to their full potential and transform the future of our workforce.
They represent just
of all youth, but commit
of all youth crime
As daunting as the situation may be, we believe (and research bears out) that youth employment can have a profoundly positive impact in these areas.
 JP Morgan Study
 Brookings Report
 Clive R. Belfield, Henry M. Levin, and Rachel Rosen, The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth (Corporation for Economic and Community Service and the White House Council for Community Solutions, 2012); available at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED528650.pdf