The County Health rankings released in March added a factor that will boost the health, well-being, and economic prospects of thousands of young New Jersey residents. According to the study, there are approximately 7,000 disconnected youth in the State of New Jersey. Of that number, 17% of Essex County youth fall under that classification as compared to 12% statewide. Youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor employed are classified as “disconnected youth”. Reconnecting this population is critical to changing the narrative of children born into poverty.

At Newark Opportunity Youth Network, we’re partnered with educational and community-based organizations to develop comprehensive strategies designed to deter disconnection. Inclusion by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Population Health – measuring “disconnected youth” as social and economic factors – reflects the alignment of education and employment and its effect on quality-of-life.