Despite the lowest national unemployment rate in nearly two decades, the construction industry continues to combat a labor shortage problem that has caused widespread delays for many projects. Contractors and construction firms are considering unique ways to revitalize interest in construction for America’s youth. In this brief article, the lawyers at Cotney Construction Law, an Orlando construction law firm, will discuss how the construction industry is getting involved with foster care programs. As children “age out” of foster care at the age of 18, they can become welcome additions to the construction industry.
Aging Out in America
When children within the foster care system are not reunited with their family, brought in by a relative, or adopted by a new family, they eventually leave foster care when they become a legal adult at the age of 18. This is referred to as “aging out.” According to statistics, 23,000 young adults “age out” every year. Unfortunately, 20 percent of these young adults immediately have no home, 50 percent remain unemployed until the age of 24, and only 3 percent earn a college degree. These troubling statistics need to be improved.
The Troubling Issues With Abandoned Young Adults
The basic goal of the foster care system is to offer a stable home. Other important goals include offering young adults the opportunity for higher education and gainful employment. Unfortunately, young adults that age out of the foster care system are generally not offered the support they need which impacts their adulthood. Although the State of Florida does offer some benefits to young adults that age out, there is an unfortunate trend that aged out youths are more prone to homelessness, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, and criminal behavior. This difficult process of adapting to adulthood from the ages of 18 to 21 can have long-term ramifications on young adults if they are not provided the proper guidance.
How the Construction Industry Can Help
LeGen Leaders is one example of a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing these young adults with training in the construction industry. The Minnesota-based organization aims to provide recently aged out adults with a workforce development program that can help them begin a career in construction. In the nonprofit’s own words, they act as a “safety net” for young adults by providing them with a chance to develop industry knowledge while also taking advantage of the opportunity to remain eligible for foster care services until the age of 21 under Minnesota state law.
Programs like LeGen Leaders remind everyone involved in the construction industry that there are ways to make a societal difference in our community while also combatting a serious issue in construction.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.