With support from the United States Department of Agriculture, The National Science Foundation, The Research Foundation of the City University of New York, the National Institute for Food and Agriculture this project seeks to understand the labor market integration of disconnected youth (youth ages 16-24 who were not at school or in the labor market) in the wake of the Great Recession and, now the COVID-19 pandemic. This project considers the experience of young adults transitioning to adulthood in US rural economies. Large scale survey analyses at the national level are combined with in-depth ethnographic case study of youth in the Central San Joaquin Valley of California. The project is a longitudinal study started in 2015 and is currently still collecting data. It is also done in collaboration with a follow up study entitled “A Decade Lost: Youth Opportunity in the United States”.
In the wake of the Great Recession, and now the COVID-19 Pandemic, older youth in the US now face highly competitive local labor markets wherein jobs are polarized at the high and low ends of the wage and skill distributions, and large numbers of unemployed youth vie for fewer jobs with adults and increasingly older workers (ages 55 and above) – whom research suggests employers prefer – even for jobs traditionally staffed by young people. For older youth in rural communities these transformations have generated subjective and systemic risks. Many rural economies have been “left behind” and employment opportunities available to young people in these areas are limited. Even youth whom obtain college degrees report experiencing intermittent periods of employment and underemployment alongside prolonged periods of unemployment. Such realities are augmented by the intersections of class, race/ethnicity, and gender that occur at the individual and community levels and shape patterns of inclusion and exclusion. Yet, very little is known about the ways in which, and the extent to which social and community institutions and networks influence the labor market integration of older youth- particularly in rural communities and agricultural based local economies.
The study undertook a survey of community institutions available to older youth in the Central San Joaquin Valley of California, interviews with older youth who lived in the region, as well as case studies of individual institutions. The project is done in a collaboration with the Institute of Public Anthropology at the California State University, Fresno and includes a internship and training program component training a new generation of ethnographic and social science researchers in California.
Project Publications and Related Publications on the Economic Integration of Older Youth in the United States
- Visser, M.A., J. Mullooly, and P. Campos-Melchor. (2021). The Strength of Formal Weak Ties: The Vital Role of Formal Institutional Networks for America’s Rural Disconnected Youth. Journal of Rural Studies.
- Visser, M.A., J. Mullooly, and P. Campos-Melchor. (2020). Diversifying, Transforming, and Last Resorts: The Utilization of Community Based Youth Serving Organizations in the Construction of Livelihood Strategies by Disconnected Youth in Rural America. Journal of Rural Studies. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.10.005
- Visser, M.A.(2018). Care Like Kin: Community Based Youth Organizations and the Social Reproduction of Disconnected Youth in Rural America. American Journal of Community Psychology. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12244
- Visser, M.A. (2018). Beyond Labor Markets and Schools: Community Based Youth Organizations and the Economic Integration of Puerto Rican and Dominican Youth in New York City. Forthcoming in CENTRO Journal.
- Melendez, E., A. Visser, & K. Birson. (2014). The Transition of Puerto Rican Youth to Adulthood. In Melendez, E. & C. Vargas-Ramos (eds.) Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium. CENTRO Press. pp. 144-163.
- Visser, M.A. (2016). On the Frontlines: Community Based Organizations and the Economic Integration of Disconnected Youth in the San Joaquin Valley. Research Report. Institute of Public Anthropology. The California State University, Fresno.
- Visser, M.A. (2015). School, Work, and the Transition to Adulthood of Youth in the San Joaquin Valley. Research Brief. Institute of Public Anthropology. The California State University, Fresno.
- Melendez, E., A. Visser, R. Plaza, and R. Segura. (2012) The Transition of Puerto Rican Youth to Adulthood. CENTRO Research Brief. Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York.