Our WorkInitiatives U.S. Youth Employment

U.S. Youth Employment

Engaging employers to increase job opportunities for the next generation of U.S. workers.


The challenge of youth unemployment is devastating for individuals and communities, disproportionately affecting low-income and communities of color. With six million Americans ages 16-24 out of work and not in school, the U.S. youth unemployment rate is over twelve percent—eight percentage points higher than adult unemployment over the last two decades. Millions more youth are unable to find full-time opportunities that match their skills, or draws on their formal job training or education.

These challenges jeopardize the lives and livelihoods of young Americans and put the social and economic future of an entire generation—and the nation as a whole—on the line.

Our Strategy

The Rockefeller Foundation’s U.S. Youth Employment initiative seeks to create a more inclusive economy that employs more youth in career-building jobs, especially the poor or vulnerable who are often hit the hardest by economic shocks and stresses.

The Foundation is working with employers to develop what we call ‘impact hiring’—an innovative approach that enables employers to find better, more successful matches for entry-level positions from the youth talent pool by encouraging data-driven employment strategies that can both unlock additional business value and expand employment opportunities for disadvantaged young workers.

Addressing the youth employment crisis at scale requires more than just training—it requires greater collaboration across sectors, efforts to ensure that young people are being connected to jobs and that these jobs are a good match, and support services to position young workers for on-the-job success. By helping young people access stable employment and careers, we can improve their chances of leading healthy and productive lives, while building a stronger and more inclusive workforce—a critical part of ensuring the long-term success of the U.S. economy and our communities nationwide.

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