FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 27, 2016
Scientific Opinion Poll: Millennials Identify Student Debt, Retirement Savings as Barriers to Entrepreneurship
Majority of millennials currently own or would like to own a business someday; identify student loan payments and lack of an employer-sponsored retirement plan as barriers to launching or growing a business
Washington, DC—A scientific opinion poll released today shows the majority of millennials (ages 18-34) who own a business or would like to start one at some point say student debt and lack of a retirement savings plan are barriers to entrepreneurship.
The poll, conducted Nov. 18-25, 2015, by North Star Opinion Research on behalf of Young Invincibles and Small Business Majority, found that the majority of millennials (51 percent) either own a business or organization, are planning to start a business, or would like to but do not currently have plans to do so.
When it comes to starting a business, millennials identify student debt and lack of an employer-sponsored retirement plan as financial barriers to entrepreneurship. Nearly half (48 percent) of millennials paying off student debt who currently own or have plans to own a business say their student loan payments have impacted their ability to start a business. And nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) millennials who are interested in opening a business but have no current plans to do so say their student loan payments affect their ability to start a business.
“Right now, I cover upfront necessities for my business, like insurance and marketing materials, out of my own pocket,” said Amanda Golden, co-owner of Designing Local in Columbus, Ohio. “My loans are currently deferred, but as soon as they’re back on the table, using my own money to cover these costs will be out of the question. Student loans are really a burden that restrain my ability to run my own business. Millennials deserve a fighting chance to start small businesses, but student loans are holding us back.”
Additionally, of those who are still paying off student loans, 43 percent of those who own or have current plans to own a business, and 38 percent who would like to own a business but have no current business plans, say their student debt affects their ability to invest in an organization or hire new employees.
What’s more, three-quarters (75 percent) of millennials who own, plan to own, or would like to own a business say the lack of an employer-sponsored retirement plan is a barrier to entrepreneurship.
“Millennials show exciting levels of interest in entrepreneurship, yet youth entrepreneurship remains comparatively low,” said Rory O’Sullivan, Deputy Director of Young Invincibles. “This poll makes clear that millennials see student debt as a barrier as they explore a pathway to building their own businesses.”
“Entrepreneurship represents the pathway to success for many millennials, but they face significant hurdles to launching and growing their businesses,” said Conan Knoll, Vice President, Entrepreneurship, for Small Business Majority. “As this poll shows, student debt and lack of a retirement savings plan are a real problem for millennial entrepreneurs. Considering the majority of millennials are or would like to become entrepreneurs, it’s important to address these issues that are holding young Americans back from launching their businesses and helping our economy thrive.”
For the full poll report, please click here.
By Libby Nelson
“The first book on Millennials, Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, was published in 2000. And it contains a sentence that in hindsight is darkly, hilariously wrong: ‘For Millennials, the Dow Jones only goes up, people only get wealthier, and America only fights effortless wars.’ That didn’t last very long into the decade the book calls the ‘Oh-Oh’s.’” Read more here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 19, 2014
[CHICAGO] – Fifteen-hundred young adults from across Illinois are expected to attend a first-of-its-kind Convention next Saturday to vote on a state policy agenda for 2015 that reflects their generation’s interests ahead of Election Day, with candidates and elected officials watching.
The Convention marks the culmination of nearly 60 caucuses held by young Illinoisans this past summer who exchanged policy ideas under the umbrella of a new Millennial movement called NextGen Illinois. The movement, started by Young Invincibles and the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network — in partnership with community organizations — drew more than 700 young adults to bars, community centers and parks to exchange ideas around issues, such as political reform, education and civil rights.
More than 50 young Illinoisans will present ideas that emerged at caucuses duringSaturday’s Convention and then attendees will vote on a cohesive ten-item policy agenda, designed to represent the top political priorities of young adults.
WHEN: Saturday, September 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: UIC Forum, 725 w Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois 60607
WHO: 1500 Millennials, joined by elected officials, including Governor Pat Quinn
WHAT: Young Illinoisans vote on a state policy agenda for their generation
Governor Pat Quinn will give the keynote address, and his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner has been invited to speak as well. The Convention will also showcase local talent, with performances by local hip-hop artists FM Supreme and Controversial.
“Many critical issues that affect our generation, such as minimum wage reform and the cost of higher education, are at the center of upcoming midterm elections. NextGen Illinois is an unprecedented agenda-setting process, designed to mobilize and energize young adults to help shape the political future of our state,” said Eve Rips, Midwest Director of Young Invincibles.
Illinois Director for the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Brenna Conway said, “Illinois is a state plagued by its reputation for political corruption. As election season brings its troubled history to light, NextGen Illinois serves as a way to inject young positive voices into civic discourse and advance solutions for a government and political system that is open and responsive to all Illinoisans.”
“Young Illinoisans voted at disproportionately low rates during recent midterm election cycles, according to reports by CIRCLE, but the Convention has the potential to change this.” Young adults who would like to attend can register online here. Media who plan to attend or have questions should contact Sarah Lovenheim or Tim Price, using the contact information above.
By Reid Setzer
In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama stressed the importance of young people obtaining post-secondary credentials to succeed in the modern economy. The US is projected to have a deficit of three million workers with associate’s degrees or higher by 2020. Expanding apprenticeships is one promising and cost effective solution for closing the gap. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction to teach workers the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations.Unfortunately, there are only 358,000 active registered apprentices in the United States, and few people know they exist.
Students unsure about their next step after high school ought to take a look at apprenticeships. They offer some post-secondary training that will result in an essential industry certificate at minimum, a 2-year degree in many cases, and 4-year degrees in others. Apprentices simultaneously earn credentials and a paycheck. In an era of skyrocketing tuition and student debt, apprenticeships are an enticing alternative to the traditional college route. Students not only get accredited degrees, but are employed upon completion with no educational debt. Yes, you heard that right: employed with no debt. It is amazing that so few people know about them.
Fortunately, groups across the country are working to change that, and I had the opportunity to visit with one a few months ago. The American Apprenticeship Round Table (AART), founded in 1943, is comprised of companies committed to extending apprenticeship opportunities to young people. The AART meets to discuss best practices within the apprenticeship sphere. For example, representatives from precision manufacturers in Pittsburgh, chemical companies in Texas and other manufactures from across the country shared the relative sizes of their apprenticeship classes (anywhere from 3 to 200+), their thorough application process and how they partner with local community colleges to supply the classroom-based instruction apprentices need.
One organization stands out as an innovative model of what a 21st century apprenticeship can look like: The Apprentice School. Founded in 1919, the modern incarnation of the Apprentice School mimics a traditional campus experience in a shipyard setting. Funded by Northrup Grumman, the School has on-campus groups, athletic teams, a graduation ceremony, and just opened up a new 90,000 square foot school building complete with classrooms, labs and a gym. The curriculum combines traditional apprenticeships in fields like electrical work, machinery and welding, with some advanced programs like nuclear test technical work and advanced shipyard operations. The school also facilitates advancement for those who complete their apprenticeships: 44 percent of the current production management team were apprentices. Out of the last 9,800 students who completed apprenticeships, approximately 3,000 are still with the company. In response to its success developing this new model, the Apprentice School was recognized as a 21st Century Registered Apprenticeship Trailblazer and Innovator by the Department of Labor in 2013.
Apprenticeship programs are gaining more and more attention across the country as reports of their success spread throughout news media. A 2012 DOL study found that those who participate in Registered Apprenticeships make over $300,000 more than those who do not over their lifetimes, including employer benefits. The study also showed that those who merely participate in Registered Apprenticeships and do not complete them earn over $123,000 more over a 36-year career than those that never participate. The issue has started to get policymakers in Washington’s attention, as evidenced by new reports and statements promoting apprenticeship programs by the president and Republican leaders alike. Expanding apprenticeship programs will help young people acquire the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.
by Teresa Yuan
SEATTLE — A recent national report labels the youth unemployment rate in Washington a crisis. This report was compiled by a youth advocacy group out of Washington, D.C. called Young Invincibles.
The group tracks the youth unemployment rate of all 50 states and recently visited Seattle to share the numbers. Group members also search for solutions.
“This recession has impacted everyone. It’s just impacted young adults more. We think the reason is because a number of young adults are disconnected where they’re not in school and they’re not employed,” said Tamika Butler with Young Invincibles.
“I think it’s kind of hard for a young individual to find a steady job. A lot of people don’t want to hire someone without skills or with a background,” said Devonte Robinson, a student with YouthCare’s YouthBuild.
YouthBuild is an intense job training program at South Seattle Community College on the Georgetown campus. Students take part in a six-month training on construction to get certified and eventually graduate and find work.
But this group that helps young adults is in jeopardy. YouthBuild did not receive grant money due to the sequester.
“We’ve had a YouthBuild program in the Seattle King County area since 1994. This will be the first time in all those years there will not be a YouthBuild program and I think that’s a real tragedy,” said Melinda Giovengo with YouthBuild. “YouthBuild reaches the hardest-to-serve young people.”
In the meantime, YouthCare has approached the city and county for help. If the money doesn’t come through, Giovengo says layoffs start in October and there will be no more construction training — at least until they can re-apply for a federal grant next year and, hopefully, get approved.
by Alex Montero
Despite signs of economic recovery, many young people still face hard times due to high unemployment, low wages, and a lack of job opportunities. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently sought to tackle this issue locally with the rollout of Summer Jobs + 2013, a public-private partnership with an ambitious goal of providing 6,000 jobs and paid internships for San Francisco’s young adults. It was the most ambitious goal ever pursued in a city jobs initiative, with particular emphasis on low-income youth.
“I’m calling on all San Francisco companies to take on this challenge to support the youth of San Francisco,” Mayor Lee said at a press conference in April, when he joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in unveiling the program, the local manifestation of an Obama Administration jobs initiative. “Creating meaningful employment opportunities for our young people today will set them up for success now and in the future.”
But Summer Jobs + is falling far short of its goal, resulting in the creation of only 3,200 summer jobs. The Mayor’s Office is still holding out for a possible influx of hires next month that could bring it closer to the goal before summer’s end, Gloria Chan with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development told us.
Last summer, the Mayor’s Office launched a similar initiative aimed at providing 5,000 youth jobs and internships, and ultimately exceeded the goal by 200 positions. Roughly 32 percent of those jobs were in the private sector, predominantly tech. At the end of the day, only about 14 percent of the program’s participants locked down private-sector jobs, with employers ranging from Starbucks to Bank of America to Twilio.
Despite some success in helping young San Franciscans find work, the efforts so far amount to a kind of Band-Aid solution to a problem that goes much deeper and cannot be solved by simply teaching young people to draft polished resumes. Youth unemployment, particularly among low-income and marginalized groups, has worsened over time and is linked to a broader trend of economic inequality.
The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, recently turned an eye toward economic pressures facing young people with the release of a study titled, “Lost Generations? Wealth Building among Young Americans.” (see “Wealth vs. work,” May 1).
The institute found that among young people, “Average wealth in 2010 was 7 percent below that of those in their 20s and 30s in 1983. Even before the Great Recession, young Americans were on a strikingly different trajectory. Now, stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, and lost home values may be merging to paint a vastly different future for Gen X and Gen Y. Despite their relative youth, they may not be able to make up the lost ground.”
In the aftermath of the Great Recession triggered by the economic crash of 2009, millennials ages 16 to 24 have faced dramatically lower employment and income rates in comparison with their elders, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
In California, where unemployment stands at 10.5 percent, the millennial unemployment rate is 20.2 percent. Additionally, the median income of employed young adults in California fell from about $35,000 to $32,000 from 2005 to 2011, while other age groups recovered on average. In San Francisco, the unemployment rate for young people aged 16 to 24 was just shy of 14 percent in 2011, double that of individuals spanning ages 18 to 34.
“We know that there’s been a lot of reporting out there that the recession was particularly hard for young adults, but it’s also important to note that they are in a much bigger hole than everyone else,” Rory O’Sullivan, a policy director for Young Invincibles, told the Guardian.
Young Invincibles is a national organization that works to expand opportunities for young adults in education and employment, and to bring attention to the oft-ignored economic plight of young adults seeking a foothold in the job market.
Young Invincibles found the Great Recession hit young adults harder than any previous recession in recent history. A quarter of job loss experienced by millennials occurred after the recession ended, while the unemployment rate for 18 to 34 year olds has consistently been double that of those 35 and up.
“Young people usually take a big hit in a recession,” said O’Sullivan. “Since they’re often the first fired, last hired in a seniority system. You’re going to let go of recent hires and not the more experienced folks.”
It’s a problem that can potentially have broader effects in the long run. “There are huge consequences for the economy down the road if we have a whole generation out of work,” explained O’Sullivan. “Lack of internships and first jobs can really hurt a young person’s wages. If a young person graduates in a recession, their wages will take a hit for decades afterwards — and that could have huge consequences. We’re still a long way behind.”
There’s no easy fix for the myriad economic pressures surrounding young adults, but O’Sullivan points to public-private partnerships as a way to get young people back in the market, even though that doesn’t seem to be working in San Francisco. O’Sullivan said Young Invincibles would like to see more public service jobs created for young people. “There’s a huge demand,” O’Sullivan said. “Rebuilding after national disasters, building houses, tutoring. We have to do a better job of connecting young people to this workforce.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2013
Forum on Memphis Young Adult Unemployment Outlines Crisis, Solutions That Put People Back to Work
Event Comes On the Heels of New Report Showing the Coming Years Will Be Pivotal to the Economic Future of Tennessee’s Young Adults
[MEMPHIS, Tenn.] – On Tuesday, July 16, Young Invincibles, in conjunction with the Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps Center, will be hosting a public forum on local job training programs and the high rate of unemployment among young Tennesseans (ages 18 to 34).
This event is part of Young Invincibles’ national “Get the Facts about Youth Jobs” campaign, which will serve to both educate local organizations regarding the job market for young adults and afford community stakeholders the opportunity to discuss with the public what is working best to train young adults for careers. This latest event comes on the heels of a new fact sheet [http://jobs.younginvincibles.org/get-the-facts-about-youth-unemployment-in-tennessee/] by Young Invincibles on youth unemployment in Tennessee, which found:
• Tennessee has a lower young adult unemployment rate (13.3%) than the national average (16.2%); however, young adults in the state fare worse than their elders as the state has an 8.0% unemployment rate.
• While some have enjoyed marginally higher wages, a much smaller share of young people (ages 18 to 24) have a job today – (54%) compared to 2005 (63%). Studies show that lack of early work experience dims career prospects.
Representatives from Sen. Lamar Alexander, from the Greater Memphis Chamber, the Workforce Investment Network (WIN), The White House Initiative on Strong Cities, Strong Communities and Mayor A. C. Wharton’s office have all confirmed their attendance. Former national Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Naomi Earp will also be in attendance.
What: Public forum on Tennessee’s youth unemployment crisis and solutions workshop to address epidemic
When: Tuesday, July 16 at 10am-12pm
Where: Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps Center (1555 McAlister Dr.; Memphis, TN 38116)
Forum participants will take a brief tour of the Center, and photographers and videographers are welcome. Participants will be available at the end for interviews, but if you would like to schedule an advance interview, please contact Dustin or Colin with Young Invincibles. For more information, please visit http://jobs.younginvincibles.org/
Young Invincibles is a national organization committed to amplifying the voices of young Americans, aged 18 to 34, and expanding economic opportunity for our generation. Young Invincibles ensures that young Americans are represented in today’s most pressing societal debates through cutting-edge policy research and analysis and innovative campaigns designed to educate, inform and mobilize our generation to change the status quo.
By Randy Woods
Of all the demographics affected by the Great Recession, few have been as hard-hit as our youngest workers. While our statewide unemployment rate currently stands at 6.8 percent, the rate for the 16-to-24 demographic is more than double that rate, at 16.7 percent. For those young workers who also come from broken families or have criminal records, the outlook for employment is even bleaker.
For the past few years, however, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor has offered a lifeline to young job seekers who were about to fall through the cracks of the system. CalledYouthBuild, the program offers homeless and low-income people ages 16 to 24 job-training programs in the construction industry via a series of classes at South Seattle Community College (SSCC).
The program, administered by homeless-youth organization YouthCare, selects the most promising at-risk young people to work for six to 24 months building affordable housing while they study to earn their high school diplomas or GEDs. During the program, they attend SSCC classes to learn construction trade skills such as carpentry, roofing, demolition, plumbing and electrical systems. They also learn crucial interpersonal skills, such as working well with others, presenting themselves in a professional manner and sticking to a disciplined routine.
The effectiveness of the Seattle YouthBuild program is indisputable. In 2012, YouthBuild’s graduation rate was 94 percent, with 29 out of 31 enrollees completing the program. Every one of these workers was able to find employment or an apprenticeship within three months of graduation. According to YouthCare figures, YouthBuild has a return on investment of at least $10.80 for every dollar spent on the program.
But the outlook for the program is far from rosy. On July 2, YouthBuild held a roundtable forum at SSCC’s Georgetown campus to discuss the very real possibility of the program’s demise due to the federal sequestration actions earlier this year in Congress.
In June, the leaders of YouthBuild were told that the grant from the Labor Department would not be renewed for the rest of 2013. “Hence we find ourselves with a shortage of about $200,000 to $250,000 to keep the doors open until the next funding round is announced next June,” said Melinda A. Giovengo, executive director of YouthCare. “Without additional funds, the program can take no new young people after this group graduation and we will begin shutting down services in late October.”
During the roundtable event, the words from the dozen or so new YouthBuild graduates present were far more moving than any statistics:
- “I never thought I could actually do this. … Now, I feel like I can do anything. This program was able to open another side of me.”
- “I grew up with a lot of adversity. I came from a family that struggled with economic issues. I’m here because of programs like this. It helped protect me from going down the wrong path.”
- “I’ve been in and out of jail. … If someone gives me an opportunity, gives me another chance, I want to prove that I’m not some monster. I’ve got all these new skills which have changed my whole outlook on life.”
- “I can say this program saved my life. I wanted to do something different with my life. … I want to show my son around Seattle and say to him, ‘Hey I built that.’ If not for this program, I’d still be smoking weed and worrying about the cops.”
Giovengo says YouthCare will apply to the next federal grant cycle in December, but until then will be seeking alternative funding sources to keep YouthBuild going, including private donations and possible assistance from the city of Seattle, King County and the state.