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June 2018: Working Toward Better Adolescent Health

Landing the first real job is an important step in an adolescent’s journey toward becoming an independent adult. In addition to the economic benefits of a job, work experiences are an important part of healthy development as they give teens the chance to practice key developmental tasks, such as time management, decision-making, and social skills.  

Most young people gain work experience through full- or part-time jobs and summer employment. However, some young people may struggle to find job opportunities because they lack the skills or education needed to join the workforce or they face other barriers such as lack of transportation or disabilities. 

The HHS Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) recognizes the connection between adolescent health and workforce opportunities. Adolescent Health: Think, Grow, Act® (TAG), OAH’s national call to action to improve adolescent health, was recently expanded to include information for workforce development professionals. TAG now includes a series of action steps and resources tailored for employers and for organizations and professionals that prepare youth for the workforce.

The TAG Playbook encourages workforce development professionals and employers to take concrete steps to benefit adolescents’ health today and facilitate young people’s transition to adulthood as healthy, productive employees. These action steps can be found on the OAH website: 

  • Incorporate positive youth development into professional development training
  • Identify services to meet the unique needs of opportunity youth
  • Work with vocational rehabilitation partners
  • Facilitate mentoring opportunities
  • Identify and improve transportation options
  • Promote financial literacy for youth and their families
  • Engage employers in the community

TAG provides links to free resources to support stakeholders in implementing these action steps. Workforce development resources available on the OAH website include:

  • Youth Employment Resources
  • Resources for Youth with Disabilities 
  • A Resource Guide to Engaging Employers
  • Mentoring: A Critical Support Strategy for Youth Career Engagement and Workforce Development
  • The Passport to Career Success

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  • Do you employ opportunity youth? See how identifying their unique needs, incorporating positive youth dev't into training, facilitating mentorship, & taking other actions support adolescent health. https://bit.ly/2JHzOpD via @TeenHealthGov #TAG42mil
  • Work with youth? See the updated Adolescent Health: Think, Act Grow® (TAG) Playbook for suggestions on how workforce dev professionals can help promote adolescent health. http://bit.ly/2FMDZCw #TAG42mil
  • There are 42 million opportunities to improve teen health. Learn how employers, educators, and other professionals can engage youth with info from the nat’l call to action Adolescent Health: Think, Act Grow® (TAG) https://bit.ly/2hLDah2 #TAG42mil
Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on August 23, 2018