In designing solutions to youth disconnection—young people who are both out of school and out of work—the issue of transportation may not immediately come to mind. Yet, a new report by the SSRC’s Measure of America program, Making the Connection: Transportation and Youth Disconnection, investigates the role lack of transportation infrastructure and services play in the lives of disconnected youth. Here, Kristen Lewis, the report’s author and Measure of America’s director, and Clare McGranahan summarize the report’s findings. While disconnection continues to decline post-recession, the pace is slow and youths of color are disproportionally affected. The report provides suggestions for how greater access to public transportation can improve youth reconnection.
Kristen Lewis, Sarah Burd-Sharps, and Becky Ofrane dive into the demographic data in Measure of America’s latest report on youth disconnection, More than a Million Reasons for Hope. While the recent rebounding economy offers some good news in terms of the overall disconnection rates among young people, these remain disturbingly high for minority youth. The authors argue economic growth alone cannot erase the multiple structural barriers and institutional racism that produce significant gaps in the disconnection rates between different racial and ethnic groups, but solutions can be found through local organizations and by including youth in the conversation.
Responding to the reflections on A Portrait of Los Angeles County, Measure of America codirectors Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps first provide an overview of how they applied the Human Development Index to Los Angeles, including the categorizing of different neighborhoods from Glittering to Precarious. They then engage with key issues of ethnicity, incarceration, and the ways different parts of LA County are interrelated and affect each other—all issues that emerge from the reflections by Jennifer Lee, Pedro Noguera, and Kelly Lytle Hernandez and Terry Allen.
Colleagues from the SSRC’s Measure of America program discuss how research on human well-being can shape policies to enhance it. Using the program’s in-depth research in Sonoma County, California, as a case study, the authors show how their findings of surprising disparities can effect change through local partnerships and strategies to communicate results in ways that resonate with a wide range of community members.