Preparing Youth for the 21st Century: The Transition from Education to the Labour Market

Proceedings of the Washington D.C. Conference -- 23-24 February 1999

Young people's situation and future prospects are of vital concern to us all. Many of them face high unemployment or joblessness and serious difficulties in getting a firm foothold into the labour market. Many leave school without the requisite skills or competences needed in today’s economy and society. Many are also experiencing falling relative (and sometimes real) wages and considerable uncertainty as to whether or not they will be able to settle into good careers. But at the same time, our ageing societies need, more than ever before, to harness the potential of all of our young people. This publication points the way to future initiatives to improve youth labour market and educational outcomes as identified by policy-makers and experts of OECD countries brought together at the Washington Conference "Preparing Youth for the 21st Century: The Policy Lessons from the Past Two Decades", held on 23-24 February 1999. To give the most comprehensive picture to date, it first puts today's challenges into a historical perspective by taking stock of two decades of policies for youth employment. But more substantially, this book provides insight into experiences and policy issues in the United States, as well as in Europe and Japan, with a stress on the special needs of disadvantaged youth. All of us interested in making sure we give youth a good start in education and in establishing rewarding labour market careers will find this compendium a milestone in youth employment debate.