What to Do With the World’s NEETS?

At the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adapted at the United Nations General Assembly in late September, are a few goals so pressing that a date has been set well ahead of the next overall SDG deadline of 2030. Under Goal 8’s broad focus to “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all” are two sub-goals, both with a 2020 target-completion date and both focused on young people. The first sub-goal calls for action by 2020 to “substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training” (the so-called NEETs) and the second calls for action to “develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment.”

Why is this significant?

Over the last few years, as economies have emerged from the Great Recession, employment has started to tick upward. But, for most young people across the globe, the trend is headed in the opposite direction. As recent numbers from the International Labor Organization indicate, the crisis of youth unemployment is growing, not diminishing. Almost 74 million youth are counted as unemployed, but when one includes the numbers of those classified as inactive — not in school and not employed — the numbers skyrocket to close to 300 million. This is a crisis deserving of global mobilization.

Instead of listing all of the negative consequences that will likely ensue if these trends continue unchecked, in the aspirational spirit of the Global Goals, let’s take a moment to imagine the possible. The great promise of the next generation is that, when provided even a modicum of tangible support to build skills and access employment and career information, paired with encouragement from a positive role model, young people can quickly get their lives on track. As Education For Employment has —> Read More