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The cost of youth unemployment

Ricco Williams of Euclid, Ohio, never finished high school, but recently enrolled in a free tutoring program to prepare for the GED exam. Adrian Ma/ideastream

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A report to be published later this month by the nonprofit Social Science Research Council estimates that, in the U.S., there are about 4.5 million young adults in their late teens and early 20s who are neither in school nor working. Researchers sometimes call this group of people “disconnected” or “disengaged” youth. The social and economic consequences of that disengagement are very real for places such as Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

According to the Cleveland-based nonprofit Youth Opportunities Unlimited, for each disengaged youth, the value of lost wages, lost tax revenue and added spending on social services, comes to about $44,000 dollars a year.

Ricco Williams, a young father living with his mom in the city of Euclid, recently signed up for Youth Opportunities Unlimited tutoring. He says he hopes to eventually get a job as a truck driver.

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