Measure of America’s newest report on youth disconnection in America, More Than a Million Reasons for Hope,1 shows that in 2016, a total of 11.7 percent of young Americans were disconnected, an improvement from the 2015 rate of 12.3 percent, and a 20 percent decrease from the 2010 peak rate of 14.7 percent, in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Yet 4.6 million young people remain out of work and out of school.
Sarah Burd-Sharps is codirector of Measure of America and coauthor of two volumes in the Measure of America series (Columbia University Press, 2008, and New York University Press, 2010), and seven state- and local-level human development reports. She is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has contributed chapters and articles to a wide range of publications on child poverty, bank lending in low-income communities, social determinants of health, and more. Burd-Sharps’ research on the racial wealth gap was cited in an amicus brief for the Supreme Court in 2016. She received an MA in international affairs from Columbia University. Prior to joining the SSRC, she worked for the United Nations for two decades. Her last position was as deputy director of the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office where she worked on global human development reports on globalization, human rights, and environmental issues and national human development reports on every continent. In the year leading up to the 1995 Beijing UN Women’s Conference, Burd-Sharps headed UNIFEM’s office in China, where she supported the nascent NGO movement there. She worked for the UN in China for four years and has worked in sixteen African countries.