Abandoned : America's Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection
by Kim, Anne

Part I Embarking
1 Emergence and Divergence
2 An Epidemic of Disconnection
Part II Drifting: Avenues to Disconnection
3 Marooned: Place and Opportunity
4 An Urban Opportunity Desert
5 When Work Disappears
6 Abandoned by the State: "Aging Out"
7 "Justice"
Part III Anchored: Paths to Reconnection
8 Throwing Lifelines
9 Intensive Care
10 Super Mentors
11 The Apprentice and the Intern
12 A Texas Turnaround to Make Schools Work
Part IV A New Youth Agenda
13 The "Fierce Urgency of Now"
14 Seven Steps for Ending Disconnection

"A deeply affecting exposé of America's hidden crisis of disconnected youth, in the tradition of Matthew Desmond and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc"-

Anne Kim is a writer, lawyer, and public policy expert with a long career in Washington, DC&;based think tanks working in and around Capitol Hill. She is also a contributing editor at Washington Monthly, where she was a senior writer. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Governing, TheAtlantic.com, the Wall Street Journal, Democracy, and numerous other publications. She lives in northern Virginia.

In a time of prosperity and economic recovery, millions of young people continue to face alienation, disconnection, and lack of access to education and good jobs. Kim, vice president of domestic policy at the Progressive Policy Institute, tells the stories of these youths, considers the points at which their lives went off track, and lays out solutions for the problem of disengagement. In defiance of stereotypes of lazy and unmotivated youth, Kim depicts young people who are eager to break into the workforce but face personal and structural obstacles that sabotage their efforts at every turn. Poor public education discourages students from finishing school; decades of redlining and other racist policies create geographical and social barriers to employment; and generational poverty engenders a deficit of social capital like robust professional networks, access to mentors, and awareness of office norms. For children aging out of foster care or with a history of involvement in the juvenile justice system, the challenges are even greater. Abandoned is a smart, solutions-focused examination of an often-overlooked social crisis. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

An urgent portrait of a neglected group of at-risk young people. Americans under the age of 25 grab headlines when they launch flashy startups or become activists for social change. However, as Washington Monthly contributing editor Kim argues in her quietly powerful nonfiction debut, the success of such leaders masks an alarming reality ill-served by current public policy: "In 2017, as many as 4.5 million young people" ages 16-24 were neither in school nor working. Social scientists call them "disconnected youth" (or, in Europe, NEETs, for "not in employment, education, or training"), and many of them have aged out of foster care or spent time in prison and lack the support of trusted adults. A vice president of the Progressive Policy Institute, the author shows clearly how their plight tends to result from years of systemic failures. Some disconnected youth live in rural or urban "opportunity deserts," which decay as good jobs vanish, or "higher education deserts," which either have no post-secondary schools or none that teach relevant s kills. Others have been unprepared for the transition to economic independence by schools, foster care, the criminal justice system, or government initiatives intended to help them. A striking example of a program falling short is the federal Job Corps, which gives 16-to-24-year-olds room and board in a dormlike setting along with education and training. However, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Corps "could not demonstrate the extent to which its training programs helped participants enter meaningful jobs appropriate to their training." Among her many and varied examples of successful programs, Kim cites the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, D.C., a drop-in center where homeless young adults can find a safe place to stay during the day—and get food, take a shower, and talk to counselors. Although rich in statistics that support its positions, the narrative is never wonky, and the author enlivens the text with miniprofiles of ben e ficiaries of high-impact programs. An outstanding book for policymakers and people who work with adrift young people. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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