Obtaining a driver’s license has long been considered a right of passage and an expression of freedom for young people on the brink of adulthood. But in actuality, it’s much more than that. It’s a bridge to opportunity. Now used as a measure of responsibility, a valid driver's license is often required for employment, even when driving is not required. Yet, research shows that low-income youth have disparate access to driver’s education, the insured vehicles needed for a driving test, and the monetary funds to maintain a valid license after obtaining one. This gap perpetuates financial obstacles for low-income populations. In particular, Black, Latinx, or Indigenous youth are 1.8 to 2.5 times more likely to be nondrivers than their White peers. Without the initial means to qualify for a driver’s license, their employment options and professional opportunities are scarce– and the cycle repeats.
In Minnesota, driver's education is no longer free or offered through schools. Now a privatized institution, such instruction can cost up to $600, with additional behind-the-wheel practice fees and vehicle rental fees. Driving tests must also be conducted in privately owned, insured vehicles. Furthermore, in the case one can obtain a license, if they are unable to properly maintain their vehicle or pay the high cost of insurance, their license often gets suspended or revoked. It should also be noted that youth who are in the foster care system are not allowed to have a driver's license. This plethora of obstacles surrounding driver's education compounds employment barriers and deepens economic disparity in our communities.
(Driver’s) License to Work seeks to amplify awareness and promote equity surrounding youth’s opportunity to obtain a driver’s license. This intergenerational discussion will focus on licensing policy as an equity issue and the necessity to shift the narrative around getting a driver's license from an expression of freedom to an access point for opportunity.
Date: March 15, 2022
Time: 3:00-4:15pm CDT
Register Now: Disrupting with Purpose Registration
We want to thank Katie Battis-Troyer, Betsy Narr, and the entire Claim Our Space team for their continued support in making this series a reality!
The Youthprise Team