Youthful Enthusiasm Leaves Grads Jobless
This economy is tough for anyone trying to get a job. The worldwide recession has caused layoffs, cutbacks and an overall sense of desperation among the workforce. Although unemployment rates are slowly declining, there is still a fierce competition in the job market.
Young people especially are hurting from a lack of opportunity in the job market. Although the national unemployment rate has fallen to 8.9%, the rate for people ages 20-24 has reached a staggering 14.2%. With more people graduating with college degrees and less people retiring from the workforce, (worried that their Social Security benefits might not last), young people often miss out on solid job opporunities.
Young people (myself included) are often blessed (or cursed) with a boundless enthusiasm and optimism to make the world a better place. More and more job seekers are expressing the desire to help their communities and others around the world. Obama even referred to us as a “generation of activists” in his most recent State of the Union address.
The world is a more global market place, and because it is more global many millenials want to get involved in public service permanently…They highly value career development where they can practice their strong commitment to social responsibility.
Although it is quite difficult to be hired, there are a few other options for young people hoping to begin a career in the public sector. Teach for America, for example, is a government program that sends recent college graduates to teach in underfunded public schools around the country, which can be a great opportunity to benefit well-meaning young people as well as struggling schools.
However, Teach for America (TFA) is facing criticism for placing underqualified youth in charge of classrooms that need experienced teachers. It is also sometimes seen as a way to cut costs by getting rid of expensive tenured teachers and replacing them with TFA teachers.
The Peace Corps is another option for young people who want to travel internationally. Peace Corps volunteers are placed in developing countries around the globe with ambitions of teaching English, fostering health services, creating sustainable industry and more.
Critics of Peace Corps say that it focuses too much on perfecting America’s public image instead of creating real change in developing countries.
So how do young people make a difference in the public sector if they don’t agree with the methods of Teach for America and Peace Corps? That is the question that more and more young graduates are facing as they turn to the public sector to fulfill their need for activism.
It is possible we may have to make compromises. I would definitely include myself in the category of young people with a desire to make the world a better place. Almost a year after graduating from UCLA, I have had two amazing internships, but no job offers. Because I am competing with older, more experienced unemployed people, it is common to send out a resume and never receive a response. The job market is a daunting place.
How can enthusiastic post-grads find a niche in this stressful economy? Laura Dodd, author of Dig This Gig, recommends creating your own job. With the lack of professional positions available to young people, she suggests innovation as a way to realize the difference you want to see in the world (as reported by ABC News). As the world changes, young people must adapt with it to fulfill their lofty goals.
Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC via flickr