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Addressing a Crisis Among Young Men


Published March 12, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

Richard Reeves - COURTESY
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  • Richard Reeves

Fewer boys are going to college or joining the workforce these days. Just 36 percent of University of Vermont students are male; at Community College of Vermont, it's 32 percent. According to data from the Vermont Department of Labor, just 58.5 percent of Vermont men ages 16 to 24 had a job in 2022, down from 69 percent in 2017. Even worse: Men account for nearly three out of four so-called "deaths of despair," either by suicide or an overdose.

That last statistic, from a 2019 Joint Economic Committee report, appears in the preface to Richard Reeves' 2022 book Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It, named a best book of the year by the Economist and the New Yorker.

Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It

A coalition of local groups, including UVM, CCV and the Vermont Community Foundation, is bringing Reeves to Burlington on April 4, in hopes of launching a public conversation about these startling trends. Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and president of the American Institute for Boys and Men, will give a public presentation and participate in a discussion with community leaders during his visit.

Lauren Curry, executive director of the Richard E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation, said the event is aimed at a general audience, including teens, young men, parents, educators and people who work in human services. "So many of us can point to a boy or young man in our lives who we feel like is struggling in some way," she said. "We want to learn how to have this conversation."

Thursday, April 4, 6 p.m., Grand Maple Ballroom at the Davis Center at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Admission is free.

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