Every Pride Month, We Stand 

by YI Staff

We are reeling, and heartbroken, from Sunday’s horrifying events in Florida. Young Invincibles sends our deepest condolences to the victims’ families, loved ones, and their community in Orlando and beyond. We are thinking of our LGBTQIA constituents and friends with love and we stand with them rejecting hate in all of its forms.

It’s important to combat the fear these sorts of attacks inflict upon those who choose to live their lives authentically.  We will continue to push for more discussions, resources, and policies that support young adults of all stripes, colors and rainbows. And we celebrate Pride Month this year by sharing mental health resources for those who are grieving and information about how to support the city of Orlando.

The GLBT National Help Center: Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, the GLBT Help Center operates two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that helps both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

The Trevor Project: Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

Identity House: Identity House is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that provides Peer Counseling, Group Support, and Therapy Referrals to members of the LGBTQ community who are struggling with issues of sexuality, alienation, relationships, and family.

The Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists: This site features an online referral system and directory of professionals who specialize in providing services to the LGBTQ community. In addition, the site also lays out resources for patients ranging from individual and community resources, to education and advocacy resources and GLBT-focused mental health professional groups.

Live Out Loud: Live Out Loud is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering LGBTQ youth by connecting them with successful LGBTQ professionals in their community. The link goes to their resources page, which lists out a number of sites with services and support for LGBTQ youth.

Hispanic Family Counseling – ​MEJORANDO LA CALIDAD DE VIDA: Hispanic Family Counseling Center was founded in 2012 with the hope of providing mental health services tailored to the specific needs of the Hispanic community. They are currently offering counseling services to Florida residents.

Victim Connect Resource Center: The Victim Connect Resource Center has compiled a list of resources for victims and their families, as well as information for the public on how to become involved.

You can also show your support for Orlando by donating to the Hispanic Federation, which is collecting donations through a community initiative called #SomosOrlando. The effort will provide access to culturally competent emergency assistance, case management, crisis intervention, and mental health services, among other immediate needs to the families and victims. The Somos Orlando website has a full list of services that are offered in English and Spanish and other ways people can contribute their help and support. Equality Florida is still accepting donations to support every victim, family members of victims, and survivors.

 

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Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014 reintroduced

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today reintroduced legislation aimed at curbing harassment and bullying at colleges at universities across America.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014 requires colleges and universities to prohibit harassment and establishes within the Department of Education a grant program to support campus anti-harassment programs.

The legislation was first introduced by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, took his own life after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the Internet.

“Despite statistics telling us LGBT students are nearly twice as likely to be harassed, there is no federal requirement that colleges and universities have policies in place to protect their students,” Murray said.

“Thankfully, this bill gets to the heart of this issue by ensuring students and schools alike have the tools and resources necessary to not only prevent this epidemic of harassment, but assist victims who are too often left with no sense of closure or recourse for their perpetrators. I am extremely grateful for the work my friend Frank did to honor Tyler Clementi’s life with this legislation and I am proud to be joined in this effort by Senator Baldwin. No student – whether they’re gay, straight, black, white, Christian, or Muslim – should have to face discrimination and harassment in their pursuit of education,” Murray said.

“No student or employee should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be a place of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence. This legislation is an important step forward in not only preventing and addressing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement,” Baldwin said.

“Everyone deserves a fair shot at our colleges and universities across America and this legislation will help ensure people can pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying,” Baldwin said.

According to a 2004 study by Rowan University, 27.5% of college students indicated they had seen students being bullied by other students. LGBT students are nearly twice as likely as their peers to experience harassment, and are far more likely to indicate the harassment was based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there is no requirement that colleges and universities have policies to protect their students and employees from harassment. Nor is there Federal aid dedicated to enact programs to prevent and reduce harassment against students.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014:

• Requires colleges and universities receiving federal aid to establish an anti-harassment policy prohibiting the harassment of enrolled students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.

• Requires colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees, upon request.

• Recognizes “cyberbullying,” which includes harassment undertaken through electronic messaging services, commercial mobile services, and other electronic communications.

• Authorizes a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education to initiate, expand, or improve programs to: (a) prevent the harassment of students; (b) provide counseling or redress services to students who have been harassed or accused of subjecting other students to harassment; and (c) train students, faculty, or staff to prevent harassment or address harassment if it occurs.

The legislation’s cosponsors include: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The bill has received support from advocates and organizations including: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, People For the American Way, The Trevor Project, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, and Young Invincibles.

For more information, click HERE.

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Murray, Baldwin Introduce Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014

Sen. Patty Murray 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) reintroduced legislation aimed at curbing harassment and bullying at colleges at universities across America. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014 requires colleges and universities to prohibit harassment and establishes within the Department of Education a grant program to support campus anti-harassment programs. The legislation was first introduced by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, took his own life after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the Internet. 

“Despite statistics telling us LGBT students are nearly twice as likely to be harassed, there is no federal requirement that colleges and universities have policies in place to protect their students,”said Senator Murray. “Thankfully, this bill gets to the heart of this issue by ensuring students and schools alike have the tools and resources necessary to not only prevent this epidemic of harassment, but assist victims who are too often left with no sense of closure or recourse for their perpetrators. I am extremely grateful for the work my friend Frank did to honor Tyler Clementi’s life with this legislation and I am proud to be joined in this effort by Senator Baldwin. No student – whether they’re gay, straight, black, white, Christian, or Muslim – should have to face discrimination and harassment in their pursuit of education.”

“No student or employee should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be a place of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence. This legislation is an important step forward in not only preventing and addressing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement,” said Senator Baldwin. “Everyone deserves a fair shot at our colleges and universities across America and this legislation will help ensure people can pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying.”

According to a 2004 study by Rowan University, 27.5 percent of college students indicated they had seen students being bullied by other students.  LGBT students are nearly twice as likely as their peers to experience harassment, and are far more likely to indicate the harassment was based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  However, there is no requirement that colleges and universities have policies to protect their students and employees from harassment.  Nor is there Federal aid dedicated to enact programs to prevent and reduce harassment against students.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014:

  • Requires colleges and universities receiving federal aid to establish an anti-harassment policy prohibiting the harassment of enrolled students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.
  • Requires colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees, upon request.
  • Recognizes “cyberbullying,” which includes harassment undertaken through electronic messaging services, commercial mobile services, and other electronic communications.
  • Authorizes a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education to initiate, expand, or improve programs to: (a) prevent the harassment of students; (b) provide counseling or redress services to students who have been harassed or accused of subjecting other students to harassment; and (c) train students, faculty, or staff to prevent harassment or address harassment if it occurs.

The legislation’s cosponsors include: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The bill has received support from advocates and organizations including: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, People For the American Way, PFLAG National, The Trevor Project, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, and Young Invincibles.

See more information.

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It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, and I don’t Feel Particularly Fine

By Angela Perry

The summer when I was 17, I spent an entire day memorizing the words to R.E.M.’s song It’s The End Of The World, and I’m still able to sing them with some accuracy at late night dive bar karaoke. I share this not to brag, nor to reveal how much free time my 17-year-old self had on her hands, but because that song has been playing in my head the last few weeks on repeat. You see, I am about to begin my last year of law school, and I have no idea what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.

I have been a career academic for the last decade, first getting my BA in 2008, then a Master’s in 2010, and now I’m rounding it out with a JD in 2014. I thought that all my education would make me super employable, but every graduation seems to deposit me in a worse job market than the last. Law seems to have been a particularly bad choice in terms of job prospects: despite the fact that most people think of law as a sure-fire ticket to middle class comfort, it turns out that the profession has undergone some serious changes in the last 15 years, and there simply aren’t enough jobs for the number of students graduating from law school.

Without question, young people all over the country are facing these hard facts:

But as someone who is closer to 30 than to 20, I am especially beginning to feel the pressure to get a job. In an over-saturated profession, in an already bad job market, and carrying more than $100,000 in debt, I’ll admit to being a little apprehensive about all this grown up business.

It’s a difficult time for young people, and we’re facing challenges that previous generations haven’t confronted. As one author said, in previous generations receiving a BA made the world your oyster; “[f]or millennials with a degree, the world is a ‘bad lobster in a dark cellar.’” And especially for “boomerang” millennials like me, it can feel like insult has been added to injury. With only a year left in school, and no real light at the end of the tunnel, it really does feel like it’s the end of the world. At the end of the day, I’m left asking the same question so many other young people are asking: We’re here, so what do we do now?

Young Invincibles was started so people like you and me could share these types of stories, because our voices are stronger together. Have your own story to share? YI wants to hear it.

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WA youth unemployment rate dismal, group says

July 18, 2013 on KREM.com and King 5 News

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.

 

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Beginning on broke

July 16, 2013 in San Francisco Bay Guardian Online

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.”

 

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Forum on Memphis Young Adult Unemployment Outlines Crisis, Solutions That Put People Back to Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2013

Contact:
Dustin Summers, dustin.summers@younginvincibles.org, 202-534-3564
Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org, 214-223-2913

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/

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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.

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Job training lifeline nears end of its rope

July 9th in Seattle Times Blog NWJobs

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.

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Summer Solstice and The Decrease of The Summer Job

By Ben Tumin

June 21st is my mom’s birthday, the best day of the entire year after my own birthday. Why? In addition to thinking very highly of my mother, her birthday is the longest day of the year and the official kickoff for summer. Summer is the season for barbeques, swimming in vibrant bathing suits, and … summer jobs?

People may still be lighting up their grills this season, but high summer employment rates for many members of our generation are a thing of the past.

With students on summer vacation, you might think that more young people are employed during the summer. Students need to work during the summer to save up money for the school year, right?

Unfortunately, not so many succeed in finding jobs. Over the decade, there has been trend of low youth employment in July, with a record low in 2010 and small increases in 2011 and 2012.

In 2010, the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics gave some possible explanations for the low summer employment trend:

  • More competition over entry-level jobs that were once available to students;
  • Fewer federally funded summer jobs were available;
  • With fewer jobs around, more students chose to study so that when it was their turn to graduate they would be able to grab the entry-level jobs that aren’t available to them now.

Those trends are likely to stick around this year. Unemployment rates among young people are still high, and sequestration eliminated even more jobs.

What impact do you think the decrease in summer employment will have on our generation?

 

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Millennials and the Need for Public Transportation: Welcome to Duluth!

By Adrianne Burke

I use public transportation regularly. In fact, I pretty much rely on public transportation (or walking, now that the weather warm), and I couldn’t imagine it not being an option for me. But I live in DC, where I never have to ask, “How am I ever going to get there?”

If there weren’t public transportation options in the DC area, I and countless other locals would lose access to a significant portion of available job opportunities, and this is exactly what’s happening in the suburbs of Atlanta, where Young Invincibles spent some time recently talking about youth unemployment.

Duluth: Life in the Sprawl

Atlanta has a pretty substantial public transportation system, but the further from the city you live, the more difficult is it is to find regular public transportation. Duluth, home of the Goodwill – North Georgia, a stop in our ongoing national youth jobs tour, is actually more than 25 miles outside of Atlanta; and public transportation in the city is extremely limited, if it even exists at all.

Like many Goodwills, this site offers substantial jobs training programs. Programs vary by center, but Goodwill’s North Georgia center has a program designed specifically to help youth and young adults make it in today’s job market.

When we talked to program participants about their experiences, they were confident in their ability to develop the skills needed to be competitive in the workforce.  However, external challenges such as transportation played a major role in their confidence of being able to sustain long-term employment.

A recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution cited research by the Brookings Institute that highlighted correlation between public transportation and employment.

  • 88% of the region’s poor lives in suburbs, less than a third of suburban residents have access to transit
  • Only 17% the region’s jobs are within a 90-minute commute

When you live in a state where 20% of young people are unemployed, you can assume that public transportation has significant impact on youth unemployment.

For example, one young man at Goodwill’s North Georgia’s youth program was recently offered a new job working in the mail delivery industry.  Unfortunately, he had to decline the position because the commute involved him walking on highways and busy streets for more than an hour – and it was deemed too unsafe by the Goodwill. The position also required that he have reliable transportation, and since he can’t afford a car, his job opportunities are limited to his own neighborhood.

We have lots more to report from Atlanta, but one thing became very clear on our trip to Duluth: solutions to the youth unemployment crisis facing Georgia and our nation will require a multi-faceted approach.

Have you ever experienced so much difficulty getting to a job that you had to consider quitting? Sound off in the comment section.

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