Encouraging jobs report for nation’s workers, including young adults

Echoing the national employment picture, young adults unemployment rate fell again last month, from 6.9 percent in July to 6.7 percent in August (seasonably adjusted). Young African Americans, a group with persistently high unemployment rates, also dropped nearly two points to 10.5 percent, although that estimate can not be adjusted for the seasonable employment changes, such as summer jobs.


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July Jobs Numbers Make Case for Improving Apprenticeship Programs

By Tom Allison

While the national unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in July, the rate for young adults ages 18-to-34 rose slightly to 6.9 percent (seasonably adjusted) from 6.8 percent in June. Notably, sectors with high prevalence of apprenticeships saw significant job growth. Those sectors include:

  • The construction industry added 14,000 new jobs in July, including 9,400 specialty trade contracting jobs.
  • Nearly 50,000 new jobs were created in health care and social assistance, including 17,000 new hospital jobs and over 5,000 in social assistance.
  • There were also 11,000 new jobs in durable good manufacturing (all estimates seasonably adjusted).

Among the other unadjusted unemployment estimates, we see that young people of color continue to struggle to find a job despite the fact that our national unemployment rate has fallen by more than half since the depths of the recession:

  • Young Latinos: 7.5 percent
  • Young Asian or Pacific Islanders: 6.0 percent
  • Young African Americans 12.2 percent

jobs july


Last week’s jobs report coincides with Young Invincibles’ release of a new report on apprenticeships, debunking myths about the program and making suggestions for improving the system. The job growth in sectors key for apprenticeships reinforces our recommendations to improve our apprenticeship system. Conducted in the Chicagoland area where young people face some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, the study highlights three key misconceptions that Millennials hold about apprenticeships: that apprenticeship programs don’t currently exist in their communities, that apprenticeships don’t pay, and that participating in an apprenticeship means never receiving a college degree.

Based on these misconceptions about apprenticeships, as well as stated job preferences among Millennials, we advance six recommendations for building and branding youth-friendly apprenticeship programs.

When it comes to program structure, we recommend expanding pre-apprenticeship and job shadowing opportunities, creating more apprenticeships that provide the option to receive college credentials, and starting apprentices in cohorts. On the marketing side, we suggest being more explicit about wages, building innovative social media marketing strategies, and using near-peers as ambassadors.  Doing so will both build a broader base of Millennial support for these programs and ensure that those opportunities fit the needs of today’s young people.

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Learning To Work In Texas

Young workers make up a significant part of the Texas workforce, 39.7 percent of which is comprised of people between the ages of 16 to 34 years old. The state’s economic prospects rest on this generation’s ability to secure good jobs and to support themselves and their families. However, young people today are less likely to earn as much as previous generations, face skyrocketing higher education costs, and have dim prospects of social mobility as a result.

Recognizing this, Young Invincibles launched the Texas Jobs Tour in 2015, a statewide listening tour that reached over 250 young adults in Texas, learning from their experiences confronting a workforce that is increasingly challenging to break into and to excel in. Guided by these conversations, and existing data around youth unemployment challenges both across Texas and locally in Houston, we detail an agenda for Houston and state policymakers that would build upon current initiatives to open up jobs and economic opportunity. To improve job search skills and connections to the job market, the state of Texas must strengthen high school advising programs and improve access to information about career outcomes at Texas Colleges. Local and state policymakers must also expand early work experience opportunities for young Texans.

Please see our report, Learning to Work in Texas, for details on the policy agenda.

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Young Invincibles: Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee


Thursday, July 14, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Appropriations Committee today passed the FY 2017 Labor-H Appropriations bill via a nearly party-line vote, which would cut Pell Grants and restrict the Department of Education’s ability to protect students from predatory education providers. It would completely eliminate funding for apprenticeships, child care for student parents, and health care access for millions of young adults.

Rory O’Sullivan, deputy director of Young Invincibles stated the following:

“The House Labor-H appropriations bill passed out of committee today ignores the barriers to opportunity facing millions of young people across the country. Slashing funding for education and child care could prevent young adults from establishing lasting careers, caring for their families, and boosting their earning potential with a college degree. At a time when our generation could become the first in American history worse off than our parents, this bill would put economic security further out of reach for millions.

The cuts in this bill are expansive.  Pell Grants would lose $1.3 billion, limiting access to college for eight million students seeking a postsecondary credential. The bill would zero-out funding for on-campus childcare essential for young parents seeking a degree – something that has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support. It would also expose vulnerable students to deceptive, high-debt education providers with an outright repeal of the Gainful Employment rule.

Even as youth unemployment remains 40 percent above the national average, this bill eliminates already meager funding to support businesses hoping to establish and expand apprenticeship training programs that lead to well-paid jobs and productive employees. Finally, the bill would defund aspects of the ACA critical to ensuring health care access for millions of young people.

Students and working families count on these resources to make a better life for themselves and for their families. We commend Members of the Committee who stood up in support of smart investments that help Americans achieve economic security.  And we remain hopeful that Congress can find common ground that ensures access to a quality, affordable higher education, health care coverage for millions of young adults, and alternative pathways to essential workforce credentials in future spending agreements.”


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Young Invincibles Hails Unanimous Passage of Perkins CTE Bill out of House Committee


Thursday, July 7, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org, 301-717-9006

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed out of committee HR 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a bill designed to reauthorize the Perkins CTE program. The 37-0 vote advances the bill to the House floor. Perkins CTE allows states to fund robust career and technical education programs in high schools and community colleges, and enables students to get the training they need to prepare for future careers. Reauthorization of the program is an opportunity to advance reforms to help young Americans find work, as detailed in Young Invincibles’ Millennial Workforce Development Priorities Report.

“We celebrate bipartisan committee passage of a modern Perkins program that works better for young people. This bill is an important step toward creating a program that is responsive to the needs of employers and young workers alike,” said Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles’ Policy and Legislative Affairs Analyst. “Aligning Perkins with other federal workforce programs and improving the metrics used to evaluate success will strengthen the program long-term and help relieve high youth unemployment. We look forward to Congress continuing their work on improving aspects of Perkins on the path to reauthorization in the coming months.”


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How Motherhood Made Me an Advocate


The goal was to keep promoting parties after college. It wasn’t the most stable strategy, but I’ve been doing it since I was 17. I could excite a crowd, make friends out of strangers in the time it took to hand over a flyer. I knew how to spread a message. It was shortsighted, but it was familiar, and it was enough. Until, of course, I had my daughter.

Mia was never part of the plan, but propelled bigger plans into motion. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant, and unemployed. The country had gone into a recession, and the safety net I’d taken for granted swiftly unraveled beneath me. I always had a parent to navigate adulthood for me, who made it look easy to make a doctor’s appointment or keep every bill in order. But after my first visit to apply for Medicaid, I knew motherhood would come with great turbulence. I showed up at the DC Department of Human Services at 9 am not knowing what to expect, only to find a waitlist of more than 100 people. I spoke with an employee, who snapped that I should have been there two hours earlier to expect any service. I tried again another day and completed my paperwork. I stumbled through the next steps of finding a clinic with no one’s help, and finally met with a nurse practitioner near the end of my first trimester. While it was unfair, the massive lack of resources seemed entirely unnecessary and avoidable. I know I’m not the only young mother to struggle with a system that refused to accommodate me.

My advocacy began with volunteering at the clinic that assisted me through my pregnancy. I wanted to assist other parents in the way I never was. I also started taking community college courses, and was fortunate to have teachers who allowed me to bring my daughter to class. I was hired at the clinic as a breastfeeding peer counselor a year after I started volunteering, and my job was incredibly understanding when I needed time with Mia. By the next year, I was promoted to Family Services Manager. Most of the mothers I worked with didn’t have the same luxuries. Our most vulnerable populations don’t have access to paid family leave, and have had to use sick leave to spend time with their newborns. Or worse yet—are terminated from their jobs for starting a family. I’ve met mothers as young as teenagers who returned to work less than a week after giving birth for fear they’d lose their only source of income. This doesn’t allow enough time for their bodies to heal after birth, or establish a relationship with their newborn. The lack of resources and protective laws is not only destructive to families, but harmful to new parents’ health as well.

My own experiences and similar stories from other moms turned my frustrations into action. It’s why I’m an advocate now, helping residents of low-income neighborhoods navigate the health care system and demanding policymakers to let parents reach their full potential through initiatives like Paid Family Leave and the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, a federally funded child care service offered to young parents on college campuses. Like I said before, I know how to spread a message—I’ve been doing it since I was 17. I’ve just traded late night raves for early evening public hearings.

It’s why I’m proud to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. I want my daughter to see the impact she’s made on my life, and why I’ve been pushing so hard. I’m 30 now, and the constant turbulence has slowed down to occasional bumps in the road. But for many others, that winding journey has only started, and I’m committed to providing the support they need to care for their children and to ultimately be successful.


Sade Moonsammy is Young Invincibles’ State Organizing Manager and a doula. As a Millennial parent, Sade is passionate about being an advocate and connecting new families and single mothers to the health care resources, education, and social services they need.

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Progress Illinois: Critics Slam Rauner’s Budget Over ‘Morally Reprehensible’ Cuts

By Ellyn Fortino

“Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s so-called “turnaround budget” does not call for increased taxes, but, instead, proposes significant cuts to higher education, Medicaid and other essential services as a means to tackle the state’s dire fiscal problems. During his first budget speech Wednesday before the Democrat-controlled state legislature, Rauner said “necessary, but difficult choices” are needed to combat a $111 billion pension crisis and $6 billion budget deficit in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The state is also facing a $1.6 billion budget shortfall in the current fiscal year.” Read more here.

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State Journal-Register: Opinion: Youth Agenda a Glaring Omission in Rauner’s State of the State

By Rachel Riemenschneider and Samuel Wylde

“Getting young people to engage in politics can be nearly impossible, but apparently even when they do, their requests fall on deaf ears. Between May and September last year, thousands of young Illinoisans came together online and in person to discuss issues that are important to them, many of which were overlooked in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address Wednesday.” Read more here.

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Reboot Illinois: Rauner’s Plan For Illinois “Turnaround” Should Start with Investing in Millennials

Young Invincibles’ Midwest Director Eve Rips writes an op-ed for Reboot Illinois calling for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to represent the ideas conveyed to him by thousands of young people at this fall’s NextGen Illinois Convention as he gives his State of the State Address:

“At a first-of-its-kind convention in September, then-gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner called millennials “the key” to building a bright future for our state. He vowed to listen to the ideas of several hundred millennials who had convened to vote on a political agenda for Illinois. During Wednesday’s State of the State Address, we hope Governor Rauner addresses a few popular ideas that young adults selected as their top priorities.” Read more here.

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Huffington Post: The Millennial State of the Union Must Not Be Overlooked, and Here’s Why

Young Invincibles’ Digital Strategy Manager Jessica Adair discusses key takeaways for millennials to pay attention to from the President Obama’s State of the Union address:

They were young and in love in America, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

– President Barack Obama, January 20, 2015

“If you’ve ever been young and in love in America, you know that’s true. As President Obama told the story of Rebekah and Ben, the story of America, who fought joblessness and debt, but ultimately “made it through some very, very hard times,” you could feel the nation’s blood pressure calm. But for young adults, the very, very hard times are still upon us.” Read more here.


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