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Help Berks County partners provide better services to the community – from your couch

Apr 05, 2017 • by United Way of Berks County and Berks County Workforce Development Board
Help Berks County Better Serve Youth

Berks County seeks to better serve individuals ages 16-24 who are not in school and are un/under employed.

Offering a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to individuals who complete the survey.

BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA – Two  well-known partners in Berks County, PA are reaching out to the community to find out how they can better support young residents who are not in school and either unemployed or underemployed.

According to the Director of Workforce Development in Berks County, the most significant change taking place in the Berks County labor market is the aging of the workforce. The potential retiree population (ages 65+) is projected to grow significantly over the next 15 years, yet the population of potential workforce entrants (ages 25-29) is projected to remain flat.  On average , more than 500 Berks County students drop out of school each year without earning a diploma, and the WDB estimates between 3000 and 5000 ‘disconnected young adults’ in the county are neither gainfully employed nor in school.

“It is critical that we better understand how to reconnect these young people to school and careers in order for Berks County to grow and prosper.” – Dan Fogarty, Director of Workforce Development for the Berks County Workforce Development Board

In order to better understand this population of disconnected young adults in the county, The Berks County WDB and the United Way of Berks County (UWBC) have sponsored a study on disconnected youth in the county. The study will examine:

Reasons why these young adults are disconnected;Obstacles keeping disconnected young adults from attending school and employment; andHow disconnected young adults make ends meet.

The WDB and UWBC have engaged the Research Team from Thomas P. Miller and Associates (TPMA), a consulting firm that specializes in community-based research and strategic planning, to conduct this study by collecting information through an online survey as well as a series of focus groups throughout the county. The goal of the study is to help local social service agencies, especially the WDB, provide more and better services to the individuals who need them the most.

The Berks County Disconnected Youth/Young Adult Survey is open now and available in both English and Spanish. Both disconnected youth/young adults themselves and their families, friends, and community members may respond to the survey using the links provided below. The survey includes targeted questions about barriers to youth/young adult employment and education, sources of income, where they seek and/or receive services, and demographic information.

Individuals who complete the survey are eligible to win one of two $50 gift cards or four $25 gift cards to Wawa convenience stores.

Link to English survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BerksCoYouthLink to Spanish survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BerksYouthEsp

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