LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The pandemic has taken a toll on our children.

Young people have lost access to education, health care, and work opportunities in Michigan and across the country since COVID-19 hit.

That’s according to a new report released by a group called Measure America.

The study shows the effects of the pandemic also disproportionately hit teens and young adults of color and those from low-income households the most.

One researcher said some places are seeing rates of 20% of young people without access to those services.

Among the statistics, 3.7 million fewer young people were employed in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
Looking at household income, a report from the “Michigan Association of United Ways” found 1.5 million households with half of the state’s kids, struggle with finances.

An official with the study said addressing the gap now is critical.

“Basically a generation of young people is kind of at risk of being permanently scarred over the loss of educational opportunities of the last two years. And we really have to work hard to overt that tragedy. Our research shows that the longer someone is disconnected, makes sense, the longer someone is disconnected the worse the effects are for the rest of their life,” said Kristen Lewis, director of Measure America.

So what can be done?

Some of the fixes the group suggested range from state-funded employment programs to expanding school-based health centers.

For college-age kids, experts suggest a group effort from universities and colleges to make entrance requirements a little more flexible.