College aid for dropouts?

High school dropouts with college-ready skills lost access to federal student aid in 2012. Now there’s bipartisan support for restoring “ability to benefit” aid for people seeking job skills. Most employers have ceded job training to community and for-profit colleges. There are few non-college paths to a skilled or semi-skilled jobs.

In a Washington Post story on “disconnected” youth — not working or in school — a mentor advises an unemployed parolee who left high school at 14 to take a U.S. history class that could earn him college credits. Doesn’t this guy, who’s trying support a nine-year-old son, need job skills?

15% of youth are ‘disconnected’

More than one in seven young Americans are “disconnected” from work and from school, according to the Social Science Research Council‘s Measure of America report. Almost 15 percent of Americans aged 16 to 24 are heading nowhere.

Globally, the U.S. has a higher rate of youth disconnection than many advanced nations, including the United Kingdom (13.4 percent), Austria (11.4 percent), Canada (10.5 percent), Germany (9.5 percent), Norway (9.2 percent), Finland (8.6 percent), Switzerland (6.8 percent), Denmark (5.7 percent), and the Netherlands (4.1 percent).

While 22.5 percent of young African-Americans and 18.5 percent of Latinos are disconnected, the number drops to 11.7 percent for whites, and just 8 percent for Asian-Americans.