New research at the Ohio State University suggests that low-income youth who receive job skills training makes them much less likely than others to use some illicit drugs.
The positive effect on drug use were seen in only those youth who received job-specific training and not youth who received general help like help in finding a job or getting through a GED program.
The results of the study showed that the use of drugs like cocaine and heroin (and not marijuana) went down for youth who received specific skills training down to 2.8% after 16 years. For those that got only general help illicit drug use went up by 5.2% over the same timeline.
This finding is important because many federal and state programs emphasize a what is called the “job-first” approach which means finding them immediate employment rather than focusing on developing any skills. According to the study this would not help people decrease their chances for avoiding drug misuse.