The Crisis

Memphis has the highest rate of young, out of school, and chronically unemployed people in the country.


Without radical intervention, we are steadily losing generations of young people.

Based our research and interviews with key players in Memphis, we believe there are a few core reasons we are seeing so many young adults out of school and work:


Broken System

Memphis has thousands of youth prematurely exiting the school system underprepared for work or higher education, and those young people face significant barriers to economic stability related to poverty, incarceration and unemployment.



Few Pathways

Once youth exit, it is immensely difficult for most youth to reconnect to school or work, particularly to opportunities that will support them in getting out of poverty.



Dead Ends

For the youth that do find jobs, they are often cycling in and out of temporary work and minimum wage jobs, which is fueled by Memphis’ large logistical and distribution industry



Limited Resources

While there are programs in Memphis, there is a great need for more intensive educational and developmental opportunities for this population.


While The Collective wants to address poverty broadly, we believe the first step is ensuring all young adults have access to opportunities and that they can economically support themselves and their families.