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2024 State of Economic Equity: The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Young Adults
FRB of St. Louis
2024.06.07
A public health emergency, recession, high inflation and the tightest labor market since World War II. In the U.S., young adults (ages 18 to 24) have experienced what amounts to two distinct economies early in their lives. How are they faring in today’s job market and what do their financial and mental health outcomes look like?
Each year, the St. Louis Fed’s Institute for Economic Equity examines the nation’s current economic outlook through an equity lens. This year, the institute’s 2024 State of Economic Equity report focuses on young adults. The St. Louis Fed hosted a discussion exploring the challenges and opportunities facing young adults during a hybrid event, featuring Lowell R. Ricketts. Neelu Panth moderated a panel discussion and Q&A session with community leaders from a diverse range of organizations working to empower young adults.


















Full Video Transcript



Lowell R. Ricketts: Welcome, everyone to Dialogue with the Fed. Thanks for coming out today in this wet morning in St. Louis. Thanks to all of those online for taking the time with us and sharing your morning. My name is Lowell Ricketts. I‘m a data scientist with our Institute for Economic Equity here at the St. Louis Fed.
It‘s my privilege to share with you this work. It‘s part of our State of Economic Equity report, and it‘s really focused on the challenges and opportunities facing young adults. This is joint work with my colleagues pictured up here and sitting among you in the room at the Institute for Economic Equity.
The Institute for Economic Equity is part of our community development work here at the St. Louis Fed. So, some of you may be familiar with the Fed as a place where interest rate policy is set. Well, and you might not understand that we actually do a lot of community development here at the St. Louis Fed, and it‘s really focused on promoting the economic resilience and mobility of low- to moderate-income and underserved individuals and communities. I think it‘s maybe the best kept secret at the Fed is all the CD work that‘s going on.
And so, the Institute for Economic Equity is part of that. It‘s headed by our director, Bill Rodgers, sitting right over there. And again, these are my colleagues, all of us had a hand in this work, as well as Alice Kassens, one of our research fellows. And so, what is the Institute for Economic Equity? It‘s really focused. It‘s our research arm of our community development function here at the St. Louis Fed.
And its vision is really an economy where all can thrive and all can participate, regardless of factors such as race and ethnicity, gender, where you live. And it‘s really trying to promote a productive and resilient economy for all. And so, we have a lot of other work here. You can scan this QR code or go online. You can explore the State of Economic Equity essay.
Every year we write something a little bit different, different groups, different facets of the economy. This year we‘ve really honed in on young adults, and I‘m going to tell you why in a second. But we also have other great stuff, other research work, briefs put in plain language, not just academic wonky texts, but something that‘s meant for general consumption, so all can participate and benefit from the work going on here at the Fed.
And lastly, we have Conversations on Equity event, I believe, next month. Is that right Melissa? Perfect. Thank you. So, check that out, definitely join us again, we‘d be excited to have you.
So I‘m going to jump right in. And so why did we focus on young adults? And there‘s really two main factors that have influenced that decision. One is just the moment in time. When we say young adults, we‘re talking 18 to 24-year-olds. Throughout this work, that‘s going to be our definition.
And this group has uniquely been impacted by historic public health emergency when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Historic shock to the economy, a deep recession, although short lived by some data, and also a very tight labor market coupled with high inflation. So, it‘s a really unique time to go through this transition into adulthood.
Now secondly, this is really a response to work that the entire community development function did here at the St. Louis Fed. We went out into communities across our district. So, the Eighth Federal Reserve district, if you‘re not familiar with it, it‘s understandable. It‘s a bit wonky. We‘ve got parts or all of seven states, all of being Arkansas - we have that entire state in our jurisdiction, but we have eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, and northern Mississippi. You can tell I‘ve worked here a long time because I‘ve got that down. But for those of you that are less familiar with it, that‘s our district here at the St. Louis Fed. And we have branch cities in Louisville, Little Rock, and Memphis.
And so we went out across our district, not only in urban areas, in our branch cities, but also into rural communities and we sat down with experts, community leaders, workforce development experts, and really heard a lot of concerns about the structural hurdles that were facing young adults in their community that was hampering their ability to participate from and benefit from the economy and also to participate in the workforce. This picture here is more recently, this is our Community Development Advisory Council convening.
One of our distinguished panelists, Mary Anne Medlock is one of our council members. And here‘s all of us posing at the West Louisville Goodwill Opportunity campus, which is a really exciting organization, I think a great example of what communities are doing to not only empower young adults, but also community members more broadly to really be able to skill up and engage with the workforce.
And lastly, I‘m going to give you an excerpt from these roundtables This is a member of a roundtable in Springdale, Arkansas. There‘s an increasing number of 18 to 24-year-olds that are not working. And that scares me because if they‘re not working, I can probably jump out there and say, they‘re not in training either. So, this captures some of this concern that we heard from community members about the challenges that young adults are facing.
So collectively that motivated us to respond and conduct research in three different lenses of their labor market participation, the mental health outcomes, and the financial outcomes of young adults across the nation really, and some disaggregation and look at our local outcomes. And lastly, I‘m going to share with you really exciting community response in Paducah, Kentucky, called the Paducah Innovation Center, or the Hub or the Paducah Innovation Hub, oftentimes described as the Hub.
I‘m not going to steal Mary Anne‘s thunder on that, but it‘s a really exciting opportunity for connecting youth with the workforce. So let‘s jump into it. This is our infographic that our team internally has put together, our wonderful design team and our SPSS team, sorry, special projects and strategic support. Melissa‘s shooting me some daggers there. So, there we go. Thumbs up.
So, let‘s jump right into it. So, the first look of what we tackled was really looking at labor market outcomes. And there are some really interesting findings in here really concerning that 1 in 3 in 2022 young adults reported having no wage or salary income. And if you look at taking out all of those that were in school, it‘s really drops to around 25%, so still a large share of young adults that were just not connected with the labor force nor engaged in higher education.
And so this is concerning if you look at in the St. Louis area, we see that 13% of young adults are disconnected, so this is a term disconnected youth are those that are not working, nor are they in school. And we see that this breaks a little bit disproportionately for young men as well as Black young adults. So, within this report, we also looked at actual earnings.
So, a large share reported zero earnings, but what did the earnings outcomes look like for the rest of this group? If you take it all the way back to 1969, which is our first data point using the current population survey, an employment survey from our Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you look all the way back then, wages have been roughly stagnant after adjusting for inflation.
There was some growth in 2019 and 2022, but then you factor in all these individuals a rising share that are not working and are not in school and have zero income, and it actually erodes a lot of those gains seen in 2019 and 2022. So, there‘s definitely evidence here that more can be done to really try to address some of this disconnection from the economy as well as investments in higher education.
So, one area that gets lifted up in the report is really interventions to reduce the skills gap and enhance access to community colleges to help improve labor force attachment for young adults.
Moving on into mental health outcomes. So, for those in this room, it might not be important to motivate why we looked at mental health outcomes, but it is interesting in trying to connect it specifically to economic equity. Really you can think about mental health outcomes as critical for being able to get a job, hold a job, and succeed in a job. This is foundational and so it really plays a big role in that labor force attachment that we are just looking at.
There‘s a lot of through lines and interconnections between these different lenses here. And so what we find over time is that the mental self-reported depression rates among young adults have increased significantly and they‘ve started to diverge from that of prime age older adults. So, what does that mean? Well, since 2017, you see a widening gap and higher rates of self-reported depression.
Now, there are some challenges with the data, but to compare with older survey waves, so we can‘t really look too much over time. And there‘s also some challenges associated with people are becoming more comfortable and there‘s less stigma with reporting mental health outcomes. But what we do see is very concerning.
On the one hand, though, there‘s some good news and that there are more opportunities to connect with mental health care. Telepsychiatry has been a major development and has been an important resource for some. But unfortunately, going all the way back to 2000 for the share of individuals that reported having mental health distress but not being able to access or afford care remained stubbornly stagnant. So we‘re still seeing large barriers to access for mental health care that are very concerning.
And so this is really foundational for workforce participation, but also can impact young adults financial lives where being able to afford mental health care, hospitalization, or prescription medication. If you lack good insurance coverage, all of these costs can be quite formidable and drain some of the financial livelihood of young adults.
Moving on to wealth. This is work that is near and dear to my heart. I‘ve done a lot of work along with my colleague Anna Kent, looking at net worth, which is the difference between assets and liabilities. Why is wealth important? Well, for two major reasons.
One is it‘s critical for short term financial stability. Say you get a flat tire and you need to get to work, well, it costs quite a bit of money to get that car fixed up and get you back on your way. So that‘s one example of short-term stability, but it‘s also critical for long term economic mobility, your ability to invest in higher education, to become a homeowner, or to save for retirement and start a small business. All of this is a critically reliant upon accumulated wealth.
So, what do we see here? We see that young adults, the typical or median young adult in the U.S. in 2022 had around $11,000 of accumulated wealth. Now, compare that to $192,000 for the median for all families. Now that might be jaw-dropping but just understand that this is normal. This is what we call the life cycle of wealth, and it‘s pretty intuitive.
It‘s this idea that when you‘re young, you haven‘t had time to accumulate much wealth and over time you‘ll be able to build that wealth. So that difference in there is not cause for alarm per se. But what is disturbing is if you break this data out by race and ethnicity and you look at Black versus Hispanic versus white young adults, we see the racial wealth gap, something that‘s been well documented in the work that Anna and I have done, as well as others across the Federal Reserve System and beyond.
The racial wealth gap is manifesting even at this early age. And for those of you that might be familiar with some of the history behind the racial wealth gap, the history of policies that have excluded some from accumulating wealth versus others, this might not be too surprising. We see contemporary outcomes like this impacting Black and Hispanic young adults.
It‘s really connected to this intergenerational transfer of wealth that has been inhibited by past policies and contemporary challenges. And so what do we see? We see that, that short term financial stability piece is in jeopardy for Black and Hispanic families here. This is a popular question in the survey of household economics and decision making. It says, if you had to spend, if you encountered a $400 expense, how would you handle that?
If you work with the data as expertly as Anna has, you can derive that 33% of Black young adults and 27% of Hispanic young adults, wouldn‘t be able to pay that. Now compare that to 15% of white young adults and you see the gap. You can see how meaningful it is for something that is quite probable. So we wanted to share with you those stats and raise the case that asset building at a young age is a challenge for Black and Hispanic young adults relative to their peers.
So, moving on, I‘m going to lift up this amazing community response. It‘s the Innovation Hub, this is in Paducah, Kentucky, and it‘s really situated in a local high school. And it was established in 2019 at a cost of around $24 million. And this really helps students explore careers in the traditional trades. So think carpentry, but also health care and technology.
And it‘s really meant to equip them with skills going into a workforce. It was meant to respond to a community need for a skilled workforce and also to retain a skilled workforce. So learning there is based on five pillars: communication, teamwork, fluid intelligence, innovation, and problem solving.
And it‘s really exciting in the report you can see some of the pictures of hands-on work in terms of laser engraving, CAD, and all really exciting ways to show students why it matters, why what they‘re learning can equip them for success in the career in the labor market.
So with that, I‘m going to open it up to Q&A. For those of you online, we do have Slido, which is a way for you to submit questions, and yeah, anyone in the room have questions.
Oh, sorry. I forgot to mention you do have mics in front just tap them. My apologies.
Audience Member 1: Oh, sorry. Basically in the work we do, we work with disabled individuals and when you listed the list of people who are at a disadvantage, not only do we fit into each of those individual categories, but when you talk about disability, that‘s a whole other level. And I was just curious had that population been considered and some of the conversations and activities that you have going right now.
Ricketts: That‘s an absolutely great question. Bill Rodgers and I, early on in our time together, we‘re looking at labor force outcomes: your unemployment rate, your participation in the labor market. And one dimension by which we looked at that was for vulnerable workers, one of which were those reporting a disability. And we found that it was really significantly a lower participation rate among individuals with disabilities.
We actually saw some increase at the national level during the pandemic when the labor market got tighter, which was a really hopeful sign that accommodations were starting to be made in the labor market at a greater rate to get some of these individuals into the workforce, but there is so much room to go. There‘s such an untapped pool of talent in terms of disabled individuals in the U.S. looking for work.
In this work we didn‘t disaggregate by disability, it‘s really hard when you start to dive deep down to have sample size to talk about that. But at the national level that is such an important factor predicting whether or not someone‘s able to connect in the workforce. So thank you. Yes, Ana.
Ana Kent: Can I add to that? Because Bill did some estimates for the St. Louis area on disconnected youth and disability was on there and it was 15% of disabled or sorry, disconnected youth were disabled. I don‘t know what it is overall. That would be a good comparison point, but 15% of the disconnected youth were disabled.
Audience Member 1: To be unemployed, yes. But generally the statistics show that people with visual impairment have a 70% unemployment rate. So imagine that from a population, 70% are unemployed. So that‘s what we‘re facing and the challenges that go along with that and giving those people employed.
Ricketts: Absolutely. It‘s a really important issue and one that we want to do more work on at the institute. Anyone else have questions? Yes, over here.
Audience Member 2: Hi, Paula E.W. Carey-Moore with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Knowing this, is there a look into what‘s happening in the schools prior to turning 18 and graduating, especially now with knowing that the earlier that financial education is started, the better?
So is there something that we‘re missing that should be taught earlier and prepared because I know when you make it to college, you may have work study, but starting that earlier to start curving what has happened?
Ricketts: That‘s an excellent point and one I haven‘t looked specifically into the primary education, but I think Mary Anne might be able to offer some insights during the panel discussion. So let‘s put a pin in that. Other questions? Anything coming online?
Audience Member 3: I don‘t have a question per se, but I did have an idea for my local school. I‘m from Southeast Missouri, but what I had suggested was, yearly when the seniors are graduating, they have this signing thing and for people going to college and I was like, could you do something to recognize people that are going straight to the workforce?
Just to give them a little bit more confidence and to know that those people are going to college, and I‘m not looked at as favorably. I know it sounds like a minor thing, but I encourage the school to recognize those kids that are going straight to employment.
Ricketts: I love that. And I think we can do more to celebrate their success and that important transition into the labor market. It‘s such a great opportunity for them. Yes, back here.
Audience Member 4: I‘m from Arkansas, one of the things that we did there at the Chamber of Commerce is we had signing day, we recognized them at one of the chamber breakfast meetings, the annual meeting, and it would be signing day with all the different companies students that were coming to work for them. It was in college. This was just the trades, like manufacturing, and what they called signing day.
Ricketts: I love it. The serendipitous idea making here is wonderful.
I‘m going to introduce my colleague, Neelu Panth. So Neelu is our regional outreach manager at the St. Louis Fed, within our community development function. In her role, she is responsible for convening stakeholders around community capacity building, and the flow of community and economic development capital for improving economic mobility within the St. Louis region.
Additionally, she works with community and economic development organizations and stakeholders to broaden their knowledge and implement collaborative strategies for deepening their impact in the communities they serve. Neelu holds a master‘s degree in social work with a research specialization from our own Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis where she is now an adjunct faculty member. And she holds a design-- a certificate in design thinking from Harvard Business School. So welcome, Neelu, and welcome our panelists. We also have Sean Joe, Mary Anne Medlock, and Michael Woods. I‘m going to let Neelu introduce them. And so come on up.
[APPLAUSE]
Mary Anne Medlock: How are you? It‘s nice to meet you. So I put that pillow there for me, I‘m short.
[LAUGHS]
Medlock: OK, I gotcha. No, I‘m fine.
Neelu Panth: Good morning, everyone. Can you hear me clearly? Awesome. Can everybody online hear me? Any thumbs up? Lowell, thank you for that introduction. I was just sitting and I‘m like, huh, just happy listening to that bio you shared. But as you were presenting, as a parent, as and a past educator, it just breaks my heart to read these numbers around our young adults. And I feel really, really privileged to be sitting and moderating this conversation with our esteemed panelists who are doing amazing work in the community.
They are working tirelessly to fill the gaps that we just heard for our young adults. So with that, I‘m going to introduce our panelists. First, Dr. Sean Joe. Dr. Joe is the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Joe and I go a long way, almost about 10 years now, Dr. Joe?
Sean Joe: About 10 years.
Panth: We‘ve been working together in building that community capacity in helping build an ecosystem in St. Louis to really bridge that employment as well as the wealth gap for our Black boys and young men here in St. Louis. And Dr. Joe is a nationally recognized authority on suicidal behavior among Black Americans and is expanding the evidence base for effective practice with Black boys and young men.
His research focuses on Black adolescents, mental health service use patterns, the role of religion in black suicidal behavior. And he also leads the race and opportunity lab at the Brown School of Social Work. And through that, he is implementing the HomeGrown StL initiative that he‘s going to be talking about.
And then we have Michael Woods. Michael is the co-founder, president, and CEO at Dream Builders 4 Equity. A St. Louis native and North City resident. He is a multifaceted individual committed to his community. And we know that for sure. Just a fun fact, Michael first worked with us in our 2019 St. Louis Fed-led investment connection program and he was selected by our team to pitch at that event and share the story of his organization, Dream Builders 4 Equity.
And now we have Mary Anne Medlock, who is our new Community Development Advisory council member. So we are very lucky to have you, Mary Anne. And Mary Anne is a business services liaison for the West Kentucky workforce board and a new member of the Federal Reserve, like I said, the new member of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Community Development Advisory Council.
Over the past 23 years, she has coordinated multiple workforce development projects with the Purchase region of Kentucky. She spends her days assisting employers through their workforce growth cycles from prospect projects, recruiting young talent, to providing rapid response services to dislocated workers. Mary Anne is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, Murray State University and has professional development certifications from the University of South Florida and Harvard University.
So, thank you all so much for being here. Like I said, it‘s a privilege. And what I‘ve noticed amongst all of our speakers is that all three of them are working at a systems change level to create a better environment, a more thriving environment for our young adults, again, to bridge the gap, to change those numbers for our young adults.
So, with that, I‘m going to go straight to our questions. And again, before I do that, I know I‘ve gotten some thumbs up from my colleagues to say, don‘t forget to ask questions at the end of this panel discussion. And then for our online guests, please go to slido.com, type in Dialogue, and under the Q&A box, you can pose your questions and we will address them once we open up the Q&A session. So, Mary Anne, the first question is for you.
Medlock: OK.
Panth: The report that we just heard highlights that one in three young adults may not be working. Could you tell us more about The Hub in Paducah, Kentucky, and how it is helping young people launch their careers? What did it take to launch that project? And before you start, I had the privilege of visiting The Hub in person along with a few of our colleagues. And it is absolutely stunning.
But as I‘ve been traveling to other communities, more and more of these hubs are starting to be established to bridge that gap for our young adults. I was in Buffalo, Missouri, a few weeks ago and we toured another amazing innovation hub that was also a part of the high school. So we are seeing that trend in other parts of our country as well. So Mary Anne.
Medlock: So let me start with how it began. So, in any project that you pursue, it always starts with a conversation. And most conversations end with, well, maybe someday. Thankfully, our conversation continued and it grew throughout our community and it became a shared vision not just for educators, but for employers, but our community leaders, parents, and most importantly, the students.
They wanted a space where career and technical education was seen and not perceived. That was an important part of that conversation because typically, your vocational school at a high school is located in the far corner of the parking lot in a building built in 1970. They wanted something very different. And thankfully, they had the leadership in place to be able to change what that meant.
The Paducah Innovation Hub is a 100,000 square foot facility that is attached to the high school. It is chrome, and glass, and wood. It includes eco environmental drainage systems. Everything in that space is about forward-thinking. The welding labs, the art classes, the auto tech programs.
In that conversation, they started with, we don‘t want to know what you need right now. We want to know what you need in 10 years because it will take us 10 years to start and build this talent pipeline for you. So, it is an incredible space. It is an important space for Paducah. But most importantly, the work that they are doing is also being done throughout the Purchase region and throughout western Kentucky and all of Kentucky.
We have made a huge shift in the way career and technical education is seen. It is intentional. The timing with this conversation was perfect because the Kentucky General Assembly created a $100 million bond along the same time frame to be able to strengthen our workforce because you cannot train a 21st century workforce in a building built in 1970, on equipment that was top of the range in 1970.
So, we were able to capture some of that funding for our region, specifically, and we outfitted every single career and technical program and pathway with brand new equipment, and we started really bringing in our employers so that way they were there and the kids got to know them and they got to know the kids. And we‘ve built activities around this idea of what career and technical education has seen.
And what has happened is now we have an incredible challenge and opportunity. We have 150 kids who want to take welding and we only have 18 slots per year that come available. So as a community, we‘re once again having this big conversation about, "How do we change this," and "how do we create equity?" because there is no test that a guidance counselor can look at to be able to determine who‘s going to succeed in welding.
Do you put the engineering student, the engineering college student who‘s an eighth grader that they want to be an engineering student when they get to college? Do you put the young female? Do you put the young male? Do you put the one who is struggling in academic classes? Who do you choose? There is no guidance in that piece. So we have to create more avenues. So that‘s the new challenge we have. But it all begins with a conversation and the willingness to develop a vision and create reality.
Panth: I wanted to add when we were visiting The Hub, the director of The Hub shared that students who are graduating out of the welding program were being offered high-paying jobs at the end of graduation. And so they were earning over $80,000 to $100,000.
Medlock: Yes, they are. They actually started as a co-op.
Panth: Yes.
Medlock: Their senior year earning $26 an hour.
Panth: That‘s the power of non-traditional education, skill development that can bridge some of the income and wealth gap that we discussed earlier. Michael, you‘re doing very, very impactful work here in St. Louis, especially when it comes to our Black youth in North St. Louis. So again, we saw that huge-- what, 3,300 of our Black males, the wealth that they were able to-- or the-- yes, the wealth accumulation for Black males in our region was what? $3,300.
And so could you tell us about your work with Dream Builders 4 Equity? I mean, what did it take for you to find the organization to really start the organization? And how are you helping young men, especially our Black young men in North St. Louis accumulate that wealth so that they can lead an independent and very, very thriving life?
Michael Woods: Yeah, so I want to start with just giving you guys an overview of what we do as an organization. So can you guys hear me in the back? All right, good. So we are really trying to tackle the vacant home epidemic that is plaguing North St. Louis City. We do that by hiring young people ages 16 to 24, and then we pair them with minority contractors to complete rehabs.
So the youth are making between $15 and $20 an hour as they are working with us. But they are also getting an equity stake in each of the houses. So every time we sell a house, portions of that sale go directly to our students. But not only that, we‘re having our students write journals, they are writing down all their experiences.
We then compile those journals and make it into a book that they then have 100% ownership of. So the young people, they have the youth employment component, they also have the equity from the properties, and then they receive the royalties from those book sales. We are also very intentional about trying to transform the neighborhood that we‘re serving.
So, Hyde Park in North St. Louis city, this is where we are. We are place based. This is the community that I grew up in. So, it‘s not just a project for me, this is literally my life. These are my family members, these are my community members. So we‘re trying to be that catalyst for transformation in this community.
So, we‘re investing about $10 million into this neighborhood. That‘s 25 rehabs to be sold to first time home buyers, and then 25 free home renovations for seniors. This is important. The senior part is extremely important because we‘re bridging that gap between young people and seniors. But it‘s also important because we want our community members to understand that they are a part of this development. So we‘re being intentional for each house that we sell. We also find a current resident and make sure that we‘re building up equity in their home as well.
So, I think we get an extreme amount of buy-in from our young people because we‘re not looking at them as participants. We are making sure that they feel like they are empowered to make decisions, that they are also bosses, the understanding of you show somebody how much you value them by how much you pay them, that is embedded in our program. And I think that‘s what the magic is. Our young people are coming in and they‘re excited about being there. I hear them over the phone bragging about their next book signing or bragging about rehabbing a house.
And I remember being 16 and I was too cool to do any of this stuff. And the kids are 1,000 times cooler than me, and they‘re embracing this and really loving it and bringing their sisters and brothers and cousins to join afterwards. So this is what I‘m extremely proud of. Watching them have this commitment. We started in 2016. All of our youth are still engaged in Dream Builders at some capacity that‘s something we like to brag about.
Panth: I think one of the most impressive aspect of Dream Builders 4 Equity, even when we were engaging with you in what, 2019? Was that learn and earn model. I think it was just starting out and now we hear that model being implemented everywhere. So Michael, I really feel like you pioneered that with Dream Builders 4 Equity here in St. Louis.
Now, going to Sean, again, the report raised an alarming finding that self-reported depression among young adults have gone up significantly since 2017. You have done a lot of work on mental health as a researcher among young adults. What might be driving that trend? But before you answer that, I would really love for you to share your work, the Homegrown StL work. Again, that‘s looking at the systems change level on how we develop narratives using research as well as, how do you implement a holistic approach for transforming the economic mobility of young Black males here in St. Louis?
Joe: All right, good morning, everyone. I‘m going to try to bring us into-- that‘s a broad.
[LAUGHS]
Panth: Yes, yes, yes,
Joe: Yes, but I‘ll do my best. So when you think about what I‘m doing here, it‘s really centered on what is happening in Paducah, what‘s happening with Dream Builders, which is to say: How do we make a shift from an economics of inequality to an economics of equity? And how does a community, whether it‘s St. Louis or Paducah, has the will to be able to step into the space to say, we have different outcomes we‘d like to achieve and we‘re going to take a very data-driven approach to doing that.
And more important, we‘re going to push local governance where key stakeholders are involved at all levels. And Homegrown began with a simple conversation because of right after the death of Michael Brown. Because of my experience, I knew and I‘ve seen many different experiences. Michael Brown was one of many unfortunate young men who was 18, he was a young man, who never got a chance to transition from adolescence to full young adulthood. Being able to economically take care of himself and his family.
So we began with a conversation of three then 13 different youth workers, because I was new to the region and say, who‘s working with young Black males? And can we work together? And out of one simple question we said, well, let‘s take a very data-driven approach. I am a scholar, I‘m going to do that.
And the question was, well, How many young Black men are we talking about? No one ever asked the question. No one had the data to say that there were approximately 60,000 young Black males between the ages of 12 to 29. But once you really figure this out, this is why I really like this report, because you‘re giving community information for which you can plan and strategize and respond to and put out a vision towards equity. So that‘s where Homegrown began with those who are doing the work and said, we have to take a systems-wide approach.
So we were pushing a shift in the narrative of the approach. One focus on the economics of equity, what is the vision? What is the cost? What it takes to get there, and for how many we need to get there so we‘re trying to build these sort of models. This is why it‘s important for us to be in partnership with groups like yourselves and a lot of other stakeholders, those who are directly doing the work.
And then say, well, if you were to go to scale, what would it take? And do we even have a platform to do that level of strategizing and coordination in the region? And that‘s why we built Homegrown. It‘s a network of those who are doing the work and then developing models for us to collaborate. So I wanted to frame it in that way so you can understand what we‘re talking about.
So it is exactly what you‘re saying, Mary Anne, what is our will and vision? And then how do we work towards that in a very data-driven way? And then let those who are doing the work, do that work and say, what more can we, to our local governance, because you have a group that says we‘re going to do more invest to take what you can do to scale because you can only do so much and others will do the other part.
So this is the moment that we‘re in after 10 years. And why did this come about? Because we focus on one major thing. It‘s the economics of this. Dream Builders is telling you that. Young people, young males, black males, for me in particular, they need that pathway to equity. They need that pathway to economic opportunity. And without that, we‘re stuck in the same cycles over and over again in different regions. And we know what comes about, what is the result of that cycle.
So when you look at this, and you look at their mental health, again, you‘re talking about those who are experiencing a level of distress. Or let me even make it even simpler. It‘s painful to dream. To dream that they can be better off than their parents were intergenerational mobility. Because if the systems of opportunities and the pathways don‘t allow them to plug in, whether as employee or as employers, then it‘s painful to dream because the criticism is rampant. The consequence is severe for those who are not able to dream or find an economic pathway.
And we see it all the time in the social disorders that we‘re concerned about. We have major initiatives around crime and crime reduction, very few initiatives in investing in the local human capital that‘s in our region. We think we can emigrate our way out of this. And I‘m not saying that‘s not part of it, but you can‘t leave that huge potential human capital that‘s sitting right there and say they cannot be plugged into it, we have to find pathways. So that‘s what Homegrown is doing.
So when you look at these things, the consequence for me, it shows up in two sides of the work. Suicide rates among young Black males now are higher than white males. Never happened before. Suicide rates among Black children under 12 are now higher than white children nationally. Never happened before.
So the consequences of failure to be able to dream because there‘s no real structural pathway for them to see earnings and opportunities to be employers. And again, that‘s what I think the economics play a significant part of their ability to assess whether or not their lives put it in the way we talk about it is suicidologist.
When people decide to end their life, they‘re saying that their death is more important than their lives. Then reverse that. Our job is to make sure that their lives seize more potential and give them the confidence and the safety to be able to dream that they can be better off than their parents. So Homegrown, although I speak in this way, I‘m covering two topics, it‘s really focused on the economic mobility of Black males in the region and the importance of taking a data-driven approach and coordinating approach to do that at scale.
And let me share with you what I mean by that. You‘re talking about at scale. We vision what it takes to do this at a population level, not an incremental level, which is a different level of planning and visioning that you have to be able to take in order to meet the needs of 60,000 Black boys and young men. Sorry for going a little long.
Panth: Not at all. I am privileged to sit on the regional steering committee for Homegrown on behalf of our Bank. I also serve on the housing and financial capability subcommittee and I have seen the work firsthand. How we have baseline numbers and where we are wanting to reach. Make sure that our young Black boys and young men have that pathway for economic mobility.
So thank you for all the work that all of you are doing. I just have to say that to all of you even though our conversation has not yet ended yet, I think my next question goes to back to Mary Anne. Mary Anne, your work takes you to communities across Kentucky. From your unique perspective, what strategies have worked well for communities looking to engage young adults in their workforce?
Medlock: Well, I think I‘m going to answer this question by going back to your question before we began the panel. You have to demonstrate that those who are going into the workforce, those who are choosing a non-college path matter. So what we‘re seeing are those signing days that the gentleman from Arkansas mentioned.
One of our communities in Madisonville, Kentucky, last year they held a job fair at the Career and Technical Center. They have a brand new center as well. It is a shining beacon for their community, just like The Hub is. And what they did is they invited the parents and the youth to come in and apply for jobs right after school, right after they graduated.
And a few weeks later, they then had a signing day where they again invited the parents, invited the youth, invited the community leaders, and each one of those seniors who got a job with one of the local companies had a signing experience. Now, some of them are going on to the community college as well as working.
But it demonstrated and created a conversation in that community about the importance of being able to go to work in a welding shop or at a nursing home as opposed to retail or food. Now, there‘s nothing wrong with going into those sectors, but I was hearing parents talk about the wages that their 18-year-old is bringing home because they‘re working at a nursing home as a certified nursing aide and how that is their first step into a career ladder where they will be starting a registered nurse position in the fall, the community college. And how they can work and learn at the same time.
That‘s an important conversation for a community. And for a community like Madisonville, which was a coal-based economy for 100 years. It‘s exciting to see them excited about career and technical education and put that focus on those graduates. Now, we also have signing days with a group that it‘s a work and learn situation called Kentucky Fame. It was started by Toyota out of Georgetown, where Camrys are built.
They needed a pipeline of maintenance workers. So they created this program along with the Kentucky Community Technical College system for Kentucky Fame where students out of the high school or incumbent workers could pursue an associate‘s degree in advanced manufacturing and maintenance. And they would work three days a week, they would go to school two days a week.
Each student would be assigned to an employer. And at the end of that training opportunity, at the end of their degree, they were given the opportunity to be hired by that company. And again, we had a signing day. They got company caps, they got T-shirts, and they got pictures in the paper and on social media.
That type of thing is important to highlight because what we‘re finding in our community is more than half are not going to college right out of high school. This generation doesn‘t want the debt that is involved with so much college at this point. Even though our communities are creating scholarships for kids to be able to stay at home and be able to study and then potentially go to work, they‘re choosing to go to work. They want a different path than what many of us dream about going to college.
So I think things like that are really important. Other strategies includes when you have employers in classrooms, whether it is a kindergarten or whether it is a senior science class. It‘s very important and we‘re beginning to encourage employers to take problems into the schools and let the kids work on it.
Let the kids be able to figure out the solution or give you an opportunity to understand. It‘s incredible when you have companies that are right there with those fourth graders figuring out whatever the problem is and creating a solution that the engineers didn‘t think of. That is what success looks like? That is what success looks like because at some point along the way, we disconnected work, careers, and passion.
And kids don‘t know, even adults we don‘t know, the buildings that we drive by every day. We don‘t know what they make. We might a couple of companies if it‘s a household name and in your community manufacturing something. But what you know about work, until you enter the workforce, is the opinions of those around you.
I often talk about with our employers. You‘re fighting someone‘s cousin‘s neighbor who worked for your company 20 years ago and they have an opinion of your company that‘s no longer valid. So when you are having people, when you‘re struggling to get applicants, that‘s what you‘re fighting.
And so we have to be very intentional in demonstrating your culture along with your jobs. So when we start doing things like that, then we start changing perceptions. But if we have kids go into that plant or go into that workspace space and see what work looks like, that‘s more powerful than the neighbor‘s cousin who worked at the company 20 years ago.
So experiences is incredible, whether it‘s a job shadow, whether it‘s a field trip, or whether it‘s a signing day. You have to matter. You have to feel that you matter to your place, that you call home, and to the people who are there that have the jobs. That‘s what is important. And what I‘m seeing in the work in the communities across Kentucky.
Panth: You know, Jennifer, it takes me back to your comment about, How do we coach students who want to do things beyond just go to college? And Sean, I know at Homegrown StL you‘ve built a life coach component. So could you talk a little bit about that? And Michael, then I would go on to go to you to see how you have been and your programs have been coaching these young adults to transform their lives.
Joe: And this is wonderful. And I want to just don‘t skip over some things at least what my understanding here that Mary Anne is representing. You have to be structured for this. If your community is not structured for this, that means you have institutions just like you have the feds. You cannot do this. You can do piece of what Mary Anne is talking about, but you‘re not going to achieve the same level of results at scale.
So for Homegrown, this is why we created this space to structure our community to work with city and county governments and agencies, and to make sure that we can have this planning and thinking. The second thing I don‘t want we skip over, when you have $100 million bond and then you can get the investment in strategy, it also helps the strategy to work really well.
Medlock: It was game changing. And one of the reasons why Kentucky has been so successful in attracting economic development projects such as BlueOval.
Joe: So again, when you invest at the right scale, as we would say commensurate with the right level, you can start to do innovative things and get to the real heart of innovation that can really engage. I speak to other employers who are working on concessions in other areas, and they‘re having a hard time hiring.
Or I hear, well, there‘s a lot of jobs and the young people are not applying. Well, OK. All right. And one of the things that we feel is important in Homegrown is that eventually, you have to be able to provide that conduit for the level of connection to these opportunities. But more important, to help shift the mindset and coach young people through the process.
So part of what Mary Anne is saying in my interpretation as well is that the life coaching approach was to say that you‘ve got to give young people, particularly young males, the opportunity to get advice and connection over a longer period of time so that they can-- you have the sustained impact of a different programmatic groups like Dream Builders. That those things can be sustained. You must have that level of investment in getting them and connecting them, and supporting them, and coaching them.
And coaching is different from mentoring. Coaching is where you have expertise for a particular area that says, here are some key things you might have to learn, here‘s how you might need to approach it, here‘s how you handle the strategy on the job, here‘s how to dream beyond your entry position. That‘s coaching. And then you really pass them on to mentors. You‘re going to say, here‘s how we do it going forward.
But you have to do that. And this takes a significant investment. I just don‘t want you to lose sight of this. The economic investment in your local capital, human capital can lead to economic investment for the region. So this is not a young Black male question. This is a St. Louis question. This was a Paducah question. So I don‘t want to lose sight of that because sometimes we feel we move past the structural and the significant investment it takes to be innovative to solve your own problems and issues.
Medlock: And you can start with the simplest things.
Joe: Yes, ma‘am.
Medlock: And start with the simplest things. It might be an eighth-grade career fair where you invite employers into a space and let the youth be able to touch what those careers look like. We did that. That‘s one of the things that we‘ve done in a couple of our communities. And what we‘ve seen is explosive requests in terms of career and technical education because they‘re connecting the dots. If you talk to someone about what vocational education is, they don‘t know. But when they can play with a robotic welder, or if they can climb the pole to learn what it looks like and feels like to be a lineman.
Joe: Or to help to build a house.
Medlock: Oh, to help to build a house.
Panth: That‘s a great transition for you.
[LAUGHTER]
Medlock: He set you up, buddy.
Woods: Yeah, absolutely. I think for us, it‘s also about making sure the representation is there. We love that our young people are being able to see people who come from the same environments as them that live the same life and had the same struggles. That is giving them that proof that anything is possible and they can do anything.
I know myself and Neal Richardson, the other co-founder of Dream Builders, that was our favorite thing in the beginning of Dream Builders. It‘s being able to see ourselves in the young people and for the youth to also know that, hey, we‘ve been there. We can have those conversations when the day is tough or they had a bad night and say, hey, not only do we think you‘re going to make it through it, but hey, we‘ve been there and we understand it. I think that has been extremely important to us.
But then also exposing them to so many different careers. Growing up I lived in Walnut Park and Moline Acres. I only saw my blocks. I only understood the things that was happening in my neighborhood. When I had the opportunity to see the rest of the world, I then had different levels of what I wanted to be and also what I wanted to compete with.
So when you‘re growing up in a tough environment, you want to be the toughest, you want to be the coolest, you want to have the best shoes. But when you are in an academic environment, you‘re striving for a different level of success. And that‘s what we give to our young people that look into the rest of the world.
And then it‘s our job to be able to connect them to those resources and give them the access. We are telling all of our students to pick what you want to be and actually find out who you want to be as a person, really give them that purpose, and then it‘s our job to then connect them to all of the resources for that.
Panth: Thank you for that. Do you want to, in the spirit of economic development that‘s required for us to create, help those pathways for our disconnected youth? Michael, I know the St. Louis Development Corporation, which is again led by Neal Richardson, one of the co-founders of Dream Builders 4 Equity.
He has a very robust plan under the economic justice framework to raise funds to support neighborhood revitalization so that our young people can really thrive whether it‘s through entrepreneurship, whether it‘s through apprenticeships. So could you speak a little bit about that and how Dream Builders 4 Equity is a partner in that effort?
Woods: Yeah. So one, I just want to commend my brother, Neal. He is an amazing guy. I think the reason that he‘s going to have great success in that role is because his understanding of the corporate world, but also the understanding of underserved communities. He‘s lived in North City all of his life. He‘s had both of those, that dichotomy be able to understand both sides. That is what he‘s bringing to that world. And for us, we‘re on the ground.
And I think that is extremely important too for us to be able to hear from the community, to be able to really engage with the seniors in the neighborhood, to be able to really hear that voice from our young people, and let them have some of this-- have an actual say in the planning. And I think that is what really can create some real change.
Panth: Thank you. How many more minutes do we have, Lowell? Ellen?
[INAUDIBLE]
Panth: Sure, thank you all so much for being here and sharing your insights and your work. It is exemplary and we are so thankful for your partnership. Before I end, I also wanted to acknowledge some of the members here in the room as well as online who have been a part of our roundtables that Lowell talked about earlier because you have shared the information that has helped shape that report. So again, thank you all so much for your partnership. And with that, Lowell, I‘m going to turn to you to see if we have any questions that have come online, and then we‘ll go to our audience.
Ricketts: There we go. So we did have a question. Can you speak-- and maybe this goes to Sean. Can you speak on the impact of social media on young people? And I guess for the broader panel, a lack of soft skills as a result impairing their ability to interview for a job.
Joe: Well then, several groups have looked at social media and impact on the mental health and suicide risk. And one of the things we talked about is social isolation to the extent that young people are socially isolated and then consuming negative thoughts or in an environment for which their own negative thoughts is being reaffirmed it puts them at risk not only for depression, but anxiety and other mental health concerns.
But social media can also be a very good tool to advance equity because young people are also being very creative with social media and finding ways to build economic models that might work for them, that might give them a chance to be employers and to represent their own selves and to affirm their own selves. So again, you have to balance it. You have to be concerned about it, but you also have to balance it because it is a pathway to equity for some, but it‘s also a pathway, again, to social isolation and mental health concerns.
Woods: I‘ll speak to that too. I think it is important to understand that the young people are living in two different worlds now. You have the physical world and the internet. I think we are seeing some young people not go into the workforce because you can be successful in the internet world and not be successful in the physical world and still be OK.
So I think it‘s important for us to make sure that we‘re still making the young people understand the importance of having a new car or a house or somewhere to stay, because now you can actually have that same level of intrigue with the rest of the world if you‘re able to promote yourself in a really cool way on the internet. That‘s something that has to be within this conversation of understanding that young people are fighting for two different things and sometimes they‘re OK in one, they don‘t have to be OK in the other.
Panth: Any questions from the audience?
Joe: So I... just it‘s such a powerful thing you have done. And I think I‘m going to highlight both Mary Anne and my colleague here. When communities invest in their best hopes for young people, good things can happen. It sounds simple, but this is really what you‘re seeing on display. When communities invest in the negative outcomes, when I say the economics of inequality, this trauma, consistent trauma to the point that some might not perceive that there is anything else beyond trauma.
So then you have dream builders, not to use the word in that way, Coming in and saying there‘s a path forward in a very different way. And then you have to make it concrete. The solutions that we‘re talking about is no different than what Martin Luther King said in 1967. What others have said all this long. It‘s jobs, people. People need earnings and pathways to earnings. Those pathways to earnings make your community economically more viable. So whether or not-- you come to this from an emotional or communal point of view doesn‘t matter. The economics speaks for itself.
Medlock: So with that, I will share the latest news out of Kentucky. The General Assembly has once again been visionary and they are providing the 10 workforce boards in Kentucky $20 million over the next two years to be able to address young adult employment. There is no federal eligibilities with this.
We can catch some of the youth and be able to put them in a work-based learning experience, put them in some type of certification program to be able to help them get back on-- get them on the path. So, we are very excited about this funding. It comes active July 1. I will be very involved with this funding in my region, my little corner of Kentucky.
Hearing what you all are sharing today makes me excited to be able to figure out how to take those home, how to connect with you all to be able to bring more vision into our area because it‘s scary when you think about the labor force participation rate not only of individuals who are disabled or with disabilities, but our youth and our second chance population.
If you have any type of justice background, if you have any type of disability, you are 70% most likely unemployed. When we began talking about our next piece for career and technical education for the next two years that we‘re working on with the schools under Perkins funding, I challenged the schools, how many students have a disability in those classrooms?
And they were saying, well, we‘re trying but it‘s the parents who are really pushing back on that. And it‘s like then we have to challenge those parents that we have to make sure that there‘s an opportunity for independence. That they have an opportunity for the equity that they should have. We have to figure out how to get more of them in these training programs especially if they aren‘t going to go to college or can‘t go to college. So it‘s always about, who are we leaving behind and how can we bring them forward?
Panth: Thank you. Do we have time for a few more?
Ricketts: I think so. And we‘ve got a couple coming in online. I‘ll pose this one. Is there anything that can be done to help youth who did not get the knowledge of navigating these systems passed down to them? Who is poised to do that work?
Joe: Our approach is-- this is why we wanted life coaches to be put in the lives of Black boys and young men over time. Trained individuals who can be trained from any level of high school education and beyond to train them in how these systems work. Maybe even specific subsystems, but also to give them the ability and the skill sets to be able to work with their peers and to help pass on that knowledge.
But basically, it‘s a community investment in infrastructure that doesn‘t exist. If it doesn‘t happen naturally in the family or in the network, you have to then infuse it into the familial, the school, and the ecosystem of that particular place or community or geography. So that‘s the approach we‘re thinking about.
Medlock: There are federal and state partners who are funded to be able to do this workforce development piece. But you have to be brave enough to walk into that one stop career center. You have to be brave enough to walk into whatever that community development organization is there. Whether it‘s Dream Builders, or whether it‘s Office of the Blind, or whatever it is. You have to be brave enough to start asking questions and start looking for those places that best fits your needs.
Panth: And then I think it also leads to the accountability piece that you were talking about, Michael, the book process for these youth. I mean, the fact that they‘re documenting their experiences, I think is a learning in itself to help them stay on track. And would you speak a little bit about that model?
Woods: Yeah, so with the book publishing, I think the power in that is that the students are being rewarded for being an authentic self. So they‘re able to really write down their stories of their lives and then be paid for it and be rewarded for it. And celebrate it in front of an audience. That‘s huge. And it‘s them being able to not only make money, but also take ownership of their story and take ownership of their narrative.
I have published four books. I know this was an easy access point for me to be able to share my journey with the rest of the world. It was very easy for us to then give that to our young people and watch them really flourish because of that because now they have that confidence. I think building up the confidence in the young people, getting them very early wins, again, with Dream Builders, them walking into a vacant building with the roof falling out and then us telling them, hey, you‘re going to rehab this house.
Us telling them we give them a piece of paper and an ink pen and say, you‘re going to publish a book when they actually go through the program. And those things really happen. They have that confidence that they can do anything for the rest of their life. So I think it‘s all about getting them early wins, believing in them, and then showing them that everything is possible.
Panth: Thank you. We have a few here in the audience. You want me to go ahead and do that? I know you had a question. Go ahead.
Audience Member 5: Thank you. First of all, I commend all of you for what you‘re doing in your community. I kind of wanted to piggyback off what the gentleman said earlier. I know based on the statistics shared, a lot of those Black men have been previously incarcerated. I know one of the things we like to say is, yes, we want to reduce recidivism, but is it really a reality? So do either of your programs offer opportunities to those who have faced barriers that have been-- may have been aligned with the justice system or been incarcerated at some point?
Woods: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We bring them in all the time. And I think we even have young people who go through things while they‘re going through the program. I mean, this is just reality. I think it‘s so many things that are affecting that and making that happen. But I think it‘s so important for them to have someone that have their back when those situations occur. That‘s usually the difference.
A lot of times you wouldn‘t go to jail if someone just came to the actual court case with you. That is what we are able to do with our young people is let them know, hey, we‘re not letting this happen to you. We‘re not going to sit and watch things happen. We‘re going to do our job of being that person that‘s always going to support them and be there. A lot of time our community is missing that. We don‘t always have those opportunities or have those resources, but as an organization, I think that‘s what our duty is, is to be what they‘re lacking and missing. So absolutely.
Medlock: So one of the strategies that we‘re utilizing is training programs within the jails themselves because we know that once trained, they won‘t go back. So I‘d like to share just a little bit regarding a community that I‘m working with. Fulton County, Kentucky, is on the Mississippi River. It has 6,000 population but they have a detention center there with over 500 inmates.
We are building a training center for that detention center where they can earn certifications in construction. And the community has also received funding to build 45 new homes in their community. Fulton County was one of the communities hit by the tornado. They went through a couple of years ago that destroyed Mayfield and Dawson Springs. Both of those communities are in my footprint.
So here‘s the best part about this. We‘re going to train these inmates. They‘re going to earn certifications, but then the community wants them to stay and become entrepreneurs because there is one plumber and one electrician in that County. They want them to stay. They want them invested in Fulton County.
I‘ve never heard that before. So that is a game changer. That is a game changer. We‘re so excited about this training center and we can‘t wait to get going with it. But training programs in jails it‘s a delayed response that we didn‘t catch them earlier, but we‘re catching them now. And it could be a welding program. It could be a deckhand program, it could be construction, it can be so many things for men and for women. So that‘s what we‘re trying to do.
Panth: I heard the economic development director of Fulton County speak at an event in Sikeston, Missouri. So what they‘re doing is pretty impressive. One more. So do we have-- I know. Yes. Yep.
[INAUDIBLE]
Woods: Yeah, I appreciate that. Absolutely. So I think when people hear Dream Builders, the first thing they attach it to is us preparing them to go into the trades. So one thing I want everyone to understand about Dream Builders is that we‘re exposing them to every piece of real estate. We use real estate as a vehicle to expose them to all of the world.
So they‘re getting that investor side, they‘re getting that real estate agent side, they‘re getting that plumber, electrician, they‘re getting the whole thing, and they‘re getting to participate in each of those levels too. So we have a week within our summer academy where they‘re only engaging with real estate agents and brokers.
We have a week within our academy where they‘re only engaging with the bankers who‘s actually making the loans. And it‘s just that full understanding and a holistic view of what it is to be invested in real estate and also how you can play your part in transforming our community. So yeah, thank you for that question too.
Panth: I think that wraps up our conversation. Thank you all so much for being here. Again, thank you to my colleagues at the Institute of Economic Equity for giving me this opportunity. I don‘t know if we talked about this, but I‘m a member of our community partnerships and investments team, so our two teams make up the Community Development department here at the bank. And myself and my colleagues, with my team, we are the boots on the ground. We are the eyes and ears so we visit communities and meet with stakeholders like yourself.
So please do not hesitate to reach out to us for sharing what you‘re doing in the communities because we always want to learn and collaborate here internally as to how we can, again, come back to your communities and share our expertise as well. So thank you all so much for your thought leadership, for your work in our communities, and for attending this event. Thank you.
Thank you.
[APPLAUSE]
So where do you buy the books?




Additional Resources

2024 State of Economic Equity report
Infographic: Key Opportunities for Advancing U.S. Young Adults‘ Economic Security
Open Vault blog: Gen Z’s Mental Health, Economic Distress and Technology