New figures show almost 15 percent of young people aged 16-24 are not in school, don’t have a job and are facing a challenging future.  CEO John Challenger of Houston’s Challenger, Gray and Christmas global placement firm says, in some cases, the working poor are taking what used to be “teen jobs.”

“Gas station, mowing lawns and babysitting,” Challenger says, “now, we're still seeing teens do some of those, but some of them are being taken by adults.”

He says now is when those young workers should be developing important work habits, like getting to work on time.

“Being reliable, getting along with your co-workers and your boss, working hard,” he says.  “These are crucial experiences that are being missed.”

Ray Perryman, president of the Perryman Group, says some of our young people are falling through the cracks.

“They got some education,” Perryman says, “but it wasn't the type of education that would get them a job, and consequently they've just been kind of lost in the system.”

Disconnected youth will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over their lifetimes.

“People who do that in the early years of their life are going to see an impact on their long-term future earnings,” he explains.