America Unprepared: 3 Startling Realities You Didn’t Know About Young Americans

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Earlier this week the Council for a Stronger America released the 2016 Citizen-Readiness Report that highlights new data indicating that “many young Americans aren’t workforce ready, crime-free, or military-eligible”.


The report states that:

  • 1 in 7 young adults in the U.S. are not employed or in school.
  • More than a quarter of young adults have an arrest record – the majority drug related.
  • 71% of young adults in the U.S. would not qualify for military service due to problems with obesity, education, drug abuse, or crime.

The report also evaluated 50 states and graded each state’s ability to produce citizens who would qualify as “citizen ready” on a scale of A (ready) to E (unready). The findings are as follows:

  • 39 states earned an overall grade of C, D or E.
  • States that received an overall grade of E: Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
  • States that received an overall grade of “A”: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont

The finding of the report creates cause for concern over the country’s ability to produce citizens who are eligible to assume roles in government positions. As many government employees know, in order to qualify for many government jobs individuals must have a clean criminal record and in many cases be free of any illegal drug use past or present. However, the report concludes by addressing these problems and by recommending the following three policy priorities in order to improve Citizen-Readiness.

  1. Reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.
  2. Reauthorize and improve the Head Start program and provide needed support for both Head Start and the Preschool Development Grant program.
  3. Defend science-based nutrition standards for schools foods and reverse cuts to physical education programs.

The team at the HSDL would like to remind you that September is National Preparedness Month. The month is dedicated to educating and empowering Americans to respond to all hazards including terrorism and natural disasters. For more information about Citizen Readiness or Head Start and School Nutrition programs,  please visit the Homeland Security Digital Library (Some material material may require HSDL login)