Revolutionizing job placement for disconnected youth

by Andi Boggs | April 28, 2017

In the opinion section of the San Diego Union Tribune today is an article about the problem of disconnected youth which is roughly defined as people under 25 who are not working or in school. One of the co-authors of the article is Cindy Marten, the Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District. It begins, “Forty-three thousand. That is the number of 16 to 24 year olds in our region who are not working or in school.”

The problem of disconnected youth is heartbreaking. Finding a job can be difficult for any age person. I wonder if there are even enough jobs to hire these people if they all applied continuously for 6 months or more? It seems to me that there should be a service that automatically places people in jobs if they want to work, because part of the problem is the unavailability of enough jobs for all.

There should be a shift in thinking about this problem and much more emphasis should be given to job placement. Many of these kids will probably never travel, never marry, never own homes. I think we need to do more to take care of our people - don’t assume the youth or unemployed in general are lazy if they don’t have jobs - its very possible they have applied for many jobs and not been hired by multiple employers.

While the most ambitious of humans may be able to overcome this challenge of finding a job among a sea of applicants - there are obviously thousands of people who don’t have that kind of persistence and it is not a crime - the job seekers whether disconnected youth or unemployed older adults are up against unprecedented challenges in the job market. Many jobs require learning and qualifications which they don't have and other jobs are scarce. Our population of average people has grown astronomically - but the jobs for them have not!

Revolutionizing job placement is essential in helping disconnected youth. This concept would be greatly helped by the private sector revolutionizing hiring as the two ideas depend on each other. Currently too much effort is put on finding the right candidate which requires overzealous judgment in the hiring process. Instead of committing to a hiring process fully of prejudice and arbitrary preferences - what if there was an infusion of compassion and the emphasis was put on hiring as many people as possible, so more people could be employed for limited time, rather than less people for a long time. In a way society is already heading in that direction with the rise of the gig economy however that only helps a privileged group of people.

Before job placement and hiring can be revolutionized to the point that anyone who signs up is given the opportunity to work at least for a limited period of time, it needs to be understood by the culture that youth joblessness is a problem which is heartbreaking as well as costly.

More knowledge and awareness of the problem, plus a willingness to approach a solution with an infusion of compassion is needed.

So here’s the plan I spontaneously developed for anyone to consider:

(Since the government and some private corporations are spying on us and invading our privacy - it might as well be done in a way that benefits the jobless!)

There should be a ratio that is known for every city or region which is the number of job openings to the number of unemployed.

Eliminate the definition of unemployed used by economists that says people unemployed for over 6 months don't count as unemployed because they are not actively seeking work. Some people apply for jobs and go to interviews for over 6 months and are still unable to find employment.

Try to give more lucky breaks to the kids in terms of job placement - they deserve better opportunity.