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On Track: How Well Are States Preparing Youth in the Juvenile Justice System for Employment?

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2019
16 pages
This report presents key findings from a 50-state survey of juvenile correctional agencies to determine 1) what workforce-development services are provided to incarcerated youth and when they return to their communities; 2) whether juvenile justice agencies are partnering with workforce development agencies, educational entities, and employers to promote career readiness for incarcerated youth; and 3) the characteristics of data collected and reported on workforce development provision, employment, and related outcomes for youth.
In addition, this report provides a checklist of best practices for preparing incarcerated youth for employment, based on research and feedback from national experts. This checklist can be used by juvenile justice agencies in assessing their current workforce- development activities for incarcerated youth and youth on community supervision. Three key findings from the survey are reported and discussed. One survey finding is that most incarcerated youth are not provided the workforce-development services necessary for them to obtain viable employment in the community after release. Only eight states reported offering all youth in secure facilities the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to find and maintain meaningful employment. A second key finding is that most state juvenile correctional agencies lack the partnerships needed to assist incarcerated youth in overcoming barriers to their obtaining employment in the community. Most states do not have staff charged with overseeing the development and provision of workforce-development services for incarcerated youth, particularly after their return to the community. The third key survey finding is that most states do not track key employment outcomes for incarcerated youth, either through facility programs and services or after reentering the community. 5 figures

Date Published: September 1, 2019