Youth Opportunity

Lessons from the USA

This report highlights the need for the private sector to play a leading role in addressing the youth unemployment challenge in UK cities.

Report published on 23 April 2015 by Naomi Clayton


All cities have been affected by rising youth unemployment during the recession, but young people have long struggled to make successful transitions from school to work. In responding to this issue, our new report encourages employers and policymakers to look across the Atlantic for inspiration, and emulate the leading role many American cities and businesses take in ensuring young people have access to career opportunities.

The report provides a comprehensive look at youth employment programmes in eight US cities. It demonstrates how cities in a country with a traditionally smaller state have worked in collaboration with others, in some cases major international employers such as JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, to widen opportunities for young people.

It finds that there is a significant role business can play in tackling the youth unemployment challenge:

  • Private sector involvement in the design and delivery of youth employment initiatives is crucial to their success.
  • The business community should work with combined authorities, LEPs and schools to develop a city-wide offer for work experience and work-based learning.

Policymakers in cities also need to be more proactive in partnering with business leaders to address youth unemployment. They should:

  • Use evidence and employer engagement to establish a narrow set of clearly defined goals,
  • Leverage from a more diverse set of funding streams, including private sector investment,
  • Ensure that supporting infrastructure – data, performance management systems and a coordinating body – are in place to support the collaboration,
  • Share data and monitor programme performance in an open and transparent way, ensuring that effectiveness is robustly evaluated.



15-04-23-Youth-Opportunity-Lessons-From-The-US PDF (6 MB)

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