Are Young Workers “Lost?”
Workers who are twenty-something years old are known to be reluctant to relocate to other states, causing a recent New York Times article to refer to them as the “go nowhere generation.” A statistical study using Census Bureau Data conducted by the Pew Research Center has revealed that young workers in the 1980s were twice as willing to relocate outside their current state of residence. The article quotes research by Lisa B. Kahn, an economist from the Yale School of Management, reveals that students who graduated from school during the recession experienced a relative wage loss even fifteen years after entering the work force. Is this a recipe for a “lost generation?”
Fixing Young America
Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), is still optimistic. YEC is spearheading #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based campaign that have partnered with several organizations hoping they can provide actionable, real solutions to chronic youth who are either unemployed or underemployed, which, Mr. Gerber explains, has been at its worst in sixty years. The YEC campaign is promoting entrepreneurship, along with entrepreneurial learning and thinking, as a scalable and long-lasting antidote to the problems that keep millennial stuck. Young Entrepreneur Council has a roadmap and large goals with a target to restore the American dream for not only Gen Y, but for their children and children’s children.
When asked about the nature of solutions #FixYoungAmerica was proposing, Gerber listed various things such as a loan-forgiveness program for young company owners, making franchise ownership financially viable to young people, passing the JOBS Act, fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems at the city and community levels, creation of experiential entrepreneurship degree programs at US schools and providing unemployment insurance benefits for use as startup capital, through the expansion of Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs.
How Can Ordinary Citizens Help?
When asked how ordinary citizens could help, Mr. Gerber stated that business owners, students, teachers and parents among others can all pitch in, in various ways. For instance, encourage our K-12 school leaders and teachers to institute tech-enabled learning and entrepreneurship programs with a concentration on experiential, hands-on learning. Next, teach our children to value ownership, innovation, and independence – these skills are valuable to all of us, whether as employees, start-up founders, contractors, or freelancers. Lastly, show young Americans the entrepreneurial work alternatives like:
•Discovering low-cost entrepreneurship education through local community colleges
•Consider owning a franchise as an alternative oppose to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or even a Bachelor degree in business
•Find companies that offer intrapreneurial opportunities to their employees
•After college, go work for a start-up company
•Apply to start-up competitions and accelerators
More Ways to Lend a Hand
•Start an online platform to bring local leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs together.
•Asking your representative and senator to support the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, self-employment assistance, and crowd funding legislation.
•Sponsor business plans competition to build a local culture of entrepreneurship.
•Creating internship and mentorship programs in local businesses.