Examines the employability of young adults and reviews emerging strategies employers use to train and engage the youth workforce.

“Savvy business leaders are realizing revenue increases, cash savings, and tangible workforce improvements by tapping into the potential of 16- to 24-year-old workers. These companies span a range of industries—communications, manufacturing, retail, health care, government, and financial services—and vary in size from small local firms to global  powerhouses. Their leaders report that investments in young adult workers pay off by addressing critical business problems in four important ways:” (p.2)

  • “They create a robust pipeline of their company’s next generation of talent” (p.2)
  • “They fill critical skills gaps” (p.2)
  • “They increase workforce diversity that enables greater customer connection” (p.2)
  • “They spur innovation” (p.2)
(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Through in-depth interviews and research, we have distilled two main approaches that companies are using to forge new and customized pathways of developing young talent: (1) creating specific internal programs and (2) partnering with strategic nonprofits and external organizations. We have also distilled five “essential elements” that can help a wider circle of employers create powerful youth talent pipelines and address barriers to onboarding young people, such as work inexperience and lack of soft skills” (p.4). “The internal approach: A company takes the lead in developing its own solution. Employers report that many young adults lack the skills required to succeed in entry-level jobs. In response, companies are pursuing two types of internal strategies: designing training programs—internships, modern apprenticeships, leadership rotations—and engaging with local educational institutions’ (p.9). “The partnership approach: A company finds strategic partners to help manage talent. Often, companies would like to reach new talent pools of young adults—especially in growing industries or those affected by skills gaps—but lack the in-house capacity or expertise. In these cases, partnerships with nonprofits or other intermediaries can streamline recruitment, provide tailored hard and soft skill development, and support employees” (p.11). (Abstractor: Author)