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In Focus: Youth Unemployment in Florida

By Gonzalo Valdes

With unemployment numbers on a downturn and the stock market setting all time highs, is the recession finally over? This week, Young Invincibles is visiting beautiful North Miami Beach to get a more in depth look at this situation.

Gorgeous weather. Exotic beaches. Celebrities, models, actors, and actresses. These are the people who have chosen to make Miami their backyard. So being from this culturally diverse, luxurious city has to be incredible – right?

Not so much.

Welcome to North Miami Beach, a lovely area to the northern end of the Miami-Dade county border. All the perks that lured Lebron to SoBe are certainly there: diversity, beaches, beauty. All of the perks, except one: a well-paying job. Especially if you happen to be young.

Fritz Gerald Molien fills out a job application for an opening with Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins on November 15, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

First a little background information…

  • The unemployment rate for the state of Florida is 7.8%, slightly above the national average, but when we look closer at these numbers a disturbing trend emerges.
  • For example, Black young adults in Florida face a 23.4% unemployment rate.

But, there’s more…

  • The median income for 25 to 34 year-olds fell by over $3,500 since 2008.

  • The proportion of young workers ages 18 to 24 with full-time jobs is down double digits since 2006.
  • The proportion of young people ages 18 to 24 working at all in Florida fell by double digits since 2006.

The numbers tell us people aren’t getting jobs – and don’t even count those who have not recently sought a job, or who are under-employed, (thank some braniac economist for that).  It all adds up to paint a grim picture for youth.

So where are young people supposed to turn?

Last week, we headed to North Miami, staying positive, and highlighting Forward March – a program that helps connect young people with advisors who will coach them on necessary life skills that will help in the job hunt.

Forward March provides young adults with key work-readiness instruction in critical areas such as computer literacy and critical thinking, enabling learners to acquire and develop skills vital to strong candidacies and lasting success in the workplace.

Through targeted instruction and a favorable student-to-teacher ratio, learners explore career options, analyze local job markets, and enhance their candidacies. They learn best practices in resume and cover letter authorship, interviewing techniques, and negotiating tactics.

The growing unemployment crisis has the potential to devastate an entire generation of adolescents.

But we need to stay positive and invest in more programs like these.  So will you join us as we march forward in the fight for more opportunities and better education for the youth of this country?