"In an increasingly global economy, and with retirement underway for the Baby Boomer generation, Congress has indicated a strong interest in ensuring that today's young people have the educational attainment and employment experience needed to become highly skilled workers, contributing taxpayers, and successful participants in civic life. Challenges in the economy and among certain youth populations, however, have heightened concern among policymakers that some young people may not be prepared to fill these roles. The employment levels for youth under age 25 have declined markedly in recent years, including in the wake of the 2007 - 2009 recession. Certain young people -- such as high school dropouts, current and former foster youth, and other at-risk populations -- face challenges in completing school and entering the workforce. While the United States has experienced a dramatic increase in secondary school attendance in the past several decades, approximately 7% of youth ages 18 to 24 have not attained a high school diploma or its equivalent."
CRS Report for Congress, R40929
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html