BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA – Local service organizations are issuing a last call for participation in a study, the results of which will help organizations better serve Berks County young adults. Participants will be entered into a gift card drawing, and every response helps.
In Berks County, PA, one in five young adults ages 16 – 24 are unemployed, and even more are underemployed (unable to find full-time employment or are in a job that is below their skill level). While the exact number of young adults who are not in school and are un- or underemployed is difficult to measure, the Director of the Workforce Development Board estimates there are between 4,000 to 6,000 of these young adults in the county.
These young adults face numerous challenges to accessing stable, well-playing employment. Examples of such barriers include lacking sufficient education, having to care for a sibling, child or parent, or having a physical or cognitive limitation. Over time, absence from the labor force can have lasting effects for young people.
In order to better understand the population of disconnected young adults in the county, The Berks County WDB and the United Way of Berks County have sponsored a study on this population. (Disconnected young adult: an individual aged 16-24 who is not in school and is un- or underemployed.) The study is being conducted by Thomas P. Miller and Associates (TPMA), a consulting firm that specializes in community-based research and strategic planning, and 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.
If you fit the definition for a disconnected young adult, or you are a friend or family member of someone who does, please take 10 minutes to fill out the survey linked below.
The deadline for completing the Berks County Disconnected Youth/Young Adult Survey has been extended to May 19th and is available in both English and Spanish. The study needs 45 additional respondents, so lend your voice now! Individuals who complete the survey are eligible to win one of more than 40 gift cards to Wawa convenience stores ranging in value from $10 to $50.
 Fernandes, A. L. & Gabe, T. (2009). Disconnected Youth: A Look at 16- to 24-Year Olds Who are Not Working or in School. Congressional Research Service.