Stanton Calls for Collective Approach on Disconnected Youth

Oct. 15, 2014

The business and education community, as well as local governments, must work together to solve the issue of disconnected youths – people ages 16 to 24 who are neither working nor going to school – Mayor Greg Stanton said today.

The mayor’s comments came during a panel discussion at the Re-Engaging Disconnected Youth Summit II at the Desert Willow Conference Center. The summit was the second of three planned during the year by Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Don Covey.

“Our state and Phoenix cannot grow economically let alone sustain ourselves if we don’t work together to address this serious problem,” Stanton said.

Disconnected youths are less likely to find a job or earn a living wage, and are more likely to have poor health, engage in criminal behavior and require public assistance.

They are also a drain on the state and local economies.

In 2012 there were 825,300 youths ages 16 to 24 in Arizona — of these, an estimated 183,200, or 22 percent, were considered disconnected. The social economic cost in the state for each of these youths is $695,100 over their lifetimes, or $127 billion. [Source: “The Economic Losses from High School Dropouts and Disconnected Youth: Evidence from Across Arizona” by Clive R. Belfield for the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable]

In Phoenix, there are more than 45,000 disconnected youths, each of whom incurs social costs of $767,900 over their lifetimes for a total of as much as $34.5 billion. [Source: “The Economic Losses from High School Dropouts and Disconnected Youth: Evidence from Across Arizona” by Clive R. Belfield for the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable]

Stanton recently hosted a town hall with more than 20 leaders from local youth and education organizations, nonprofits and schools to discuss disconnected youth.

The event was the first of six meetings that are part of Solutions City, a new national initiative conceived by Starbucks and mayors in five U.S. cities that brings together residents and local leaders at neighborhood Starbucks stores to address civic challenges.  Phoenix was selected as a pilot city for the initiative at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting this past June.

“This is not merely a social issue, it’s an economic issue,” Stanton said. “I’m committed to working with the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable and using my bully pulpit as mayor to find ways we can work together to address it. Reducing the number by half will generate more than $30 billion in social and fiscal benefits to Phoenix over a lifetime.”

Contact: (Media) Tina May

 Phone Number: 602-534-9505