LOS ANGELES, April 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Young adults of color are worried about the adverse effects the nation's response to COVID-19 will have on their quality of life, access to healthcare and their mental well-being, according to a national survey by talent development accelerator LeadersUp.
For its "Flatten the Curve, Bridge the Divide Insights Series," the first release, "Amplifying the Voices of the Next Generation of At-Risk Talent," is based on a national survey of 551 young adults to find out how they are faring during the unprecedented crisis. Labor market statistics suggest Generation Z (64% of respondents) and young Millennials (24% of respondents) are more likely to be low-wage, hourly workers and disproportionately impacted by layoffs due to COVID-19. The survey was conducted between March 23 and March 28, approximately two months after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the United States and the week that the U.S. surpassed China in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
LeadersUp is a social enterprise that connects young adults to economic opportunities and talent development solutions to address labor market disparities and economic inequities in low income and historically marginalized communities of color in Los Angeles, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. More than 80% of survey respondents live in one of those three cities. Half are from Chicago, which along with San Francisco is among the cities hardest hit in the U.S. by the spread of the coronavirus. Nearly 90% of the respondents are 16-30 years old, 95% identify as a person of color and more than 70% are female.
Among the key findings:
- Nearly 1 in 3 (30%) respondents have been laid off and about 1 in 5 (22%) are concerned about losing their job.
- Majority of respondents do not live alone. Slightly more than half (52%) are in living arrangements that financially support their families, their children or their friends. Labor market disconnection for youth and young adults of color could mean significant loss of household income impacting co-living situations.
- 1 in 7 (14%) live with a dependent child
- 1 in 8 (12%) live alone
- They are worried about their quality of life (73%). Though young people are relatively healthy, 54% say they are concerned about accessing healthcare in their time of need.
- Due to recent public health measures, nearly 2 out of every 3 respondents (60%) indicated they are concerned about their overall mental well-being.
- The vast majority agreed they want to work and say landing a good-paying job with benefits would address more than 70% of their concerns.
- The majority, approximately 60%, are not receiving any type of public assistance.
Young adults are most likely to turn to their family and friends in their time of need, followed by community organizations and government agencies, the results show. They are least likely to look to schools based on their current enrollment status and are reluctant to turn to employers and faith-based organizations.
"This speaks to the need for employers to develop community-based partnerships and relationships to provide support, including health and wellness, skills building and employment assistance," said LeadersUp President and CEO Jeffery Wallace.
- Respondents expressed optimism about their chances of landing a job if they were suddenly unemployed due to the COVID-19 response.
- 76% believe they will find a job within 1–6 months
- 11% believe they will find a job in less than 1 month
Wallace says that might be overly optimistic.
"History has shown us that economic shifts leave behind the most vulnerable populations," said Wallace. "Youth disconnection rates during the recession of 2008 were 5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate. We anticipate that young people of color from low-income households will be among the hardest hit Americans, as our research shows that 52% of young people surveyed were either laid off or in fear of being laid off. Yet, they are the least likely to be heard and to be hired following COVID-19. This at-risk talent contributes to median household incomes that are already very low, on average, compared to median household incomes of Whites and Asians. Policy makers and employers need to be intentional around diversifying post-COVID-19 hiring incentives and processes to be inclusive of the next generation of diverse talent."
Wallace will be joined by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-California, 30th District), Gary Frazier, founder and CEO of OM Healthcare, Inc., and other corporate and civic leaders in the virtual roundtable "COVID-19: Flatten the Curve, Bridge the Divide," on Tuesday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (PDT). Sponsored by the Stupski Foundation, the thought leaders will discuss creating opportunity markets that drive sustainable and inclusive economic recovery and growth strategies for those most severely impacted by COVID-19.
"Young adults of color have the talent and drive that we need to rebuild our economy after this public health crisis," said Jennifer Nguyen, Director of Postsecondary Success at the Stupski Foundation, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. "These same young people are experiencing disproportionate levels of layoffs, food insecurity and housing instability as a result of COVID-19. At Stupski, we are committed to supporting students so they can pursue their career goals. We are grateful to LeadersUp for amplifying the voices of young adults of color so we can understand their experiences and think collectively about how we can rebuild a workforce that is more inclusive and equitable."
LeadersUp has curated a value-added ecosystem that connects employers with the untapped potential of diverse, next-generation talent, more than 38,000 young adults in five years. LeadersUp partners with school districts, community colleges, juvenile justice organizations and community-based groups to provide free access to its career readiness tools. To flatten the curve and bridge the divide, LeadersUp is optimizing its digital tools to provide access to coaching, job and career development on hand-held devices.
"We are committed to standing in the opportunity gap so that the disparate economic outcomes that low-income young adults of color are already facing aren't deepened by this crisis," Wallace said.
About LeadersUp: Established in 2013 by Starbucks and forward-thinking business leaders, LeadersUp is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit and talent development accelerator that bridges the divide between the untapped potential of young people and the business challenge of finding and keeping the best talent. LeadersUp provides professional development training and career opportunities via its Future at Work Summits in Chicago, Los Angeles and the Bay Area/Silicon Valley to connect the untapped potential of young adults who are out of work and not in school with employers in need of talent.