Hire KC Youth is more than a program – it’s a citywide initiative that addresses many workforce challenges facing our region. Participation in Hire KC Youth creates a community effect, and adds significant value to companies and organizations that commit to hire youth as employees or interns. Our goal is 100% participation, and it is this collective network of businesses and organizations that strengthens our local economy, helps close the opportunity gap, and fuels the economic development needed to support a thriving Kansas City region.
Youth employment has the power to affect change in a number of important areas, including:
The Skills Gap
Kansas City area businesses and communities struggle to connect with qualified workers. Nearly 70% of employers report high school graduates are deficient in critical thinking and problem solving skills essential to successful job performance. It is clear that there is a need for enhanced educational opportunities to prepare area youth for careers with local employers.
Participation in a work-based learning activity can increase a young person’s salary by as much as 11% for up to eight years after high school. Older youth have almost 100% chance of becoming employed if they have worked more than 40 weeks in the previous year.
Kansas City’s citywide unemployment rate is at a low 3.9% overall, and the U.S. youth unemployment rate sits at 11.5% with African American youth unemployment doubling this at 20.6%.
All of this translates to nearly 31,000 disengaged youth in Kansas City who are neither working nor attending school. Many young people miss out on the chance to work during their teen years, especially low-income youth. This can lead to academic disengagement, lack of career awareness and planning, and poor preparedness for available careers.
Youth employment has a transformative effect on many indicators that affect the growth of our region and the success of our youth. It’s a high-leverage place to invest. Your potential for positive impact is incredible: