AEI estimates target population for employment social enterprises

Jul 28, 2017 No Comments by

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has issued a new report that seeks to understand the number of nonworking Americans with barriers to employment who could benefit from social enterprise as a workforce development strategy. Barriers are defined as involvement with the criminal justice system, homelessness, drug or alcohol dependence, or serious mental illness.

AEI finds that among prime working-age adults, ages 25 to 54, with household incomes below 200% of poverty and at least one barrier to employment, 6.6 million people – 46% of the total who meet this criteria – are not working. Criminal justice system involvement is by far the most common barrier, and a quarter of this unemployed population have two or more barriers.

Importantly, AEI notes that 71.4% of all prime age adults with a barrier, regardless of their income, are working, and predicts that “2 million more people would be working if individuals with barriers had the same work rates as their peers without barriers.”

AEI finds an additional 2.9 million youth, ages 16 to 24, with incomes below 200% of the poverty line who are out of school and not working. Almost three quarters of these youth – 73% – are older, between the ages of 20 and 24.

For more details, download the full report, Barriers to Work and Social Enterprise: Estimating the Target Population.


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