Is the job engine broken for young people? You decide…
Just saw this– sent from a “millenial” (generation in their 20’s) to whom I’m closely connected: http://huff.to/17oafCp. What I keep hearing and seeing anecdotally–that the young college graduates I know are lining up for unpaid internships, encountering hundreds of applicants for any non-service industry jobs that pay less than a living wage at best–is backed up by this piece in the Huffington Post. We are supposedly 4 years into a recovery– the stock market is strong and corporate profits and top executive salaries are at record highs– but the jobs, incomes, and opportunities under the traditional system are in measurable decline. Wages are flat, even down in real money terms– while the basic costs of living flow relentlessly uphill. (Case in point– a Verizon smart phone costs the average person $100+ a month for minimum data and minutes. I recently priced it. A person today is basically unemployable today without mobile access. Verizon told me that even their non-data phone plans, will cost you about $75/month soon. No average person’s wage is keeping up with inflation like this).
The only answer for millions of new generation Americans–trained to expect good jobs to be handed to them after following all the rules in school–trained to be job seekers and optimizers and keepers of the status quo– is a paradigm shift: to learn to think more like job creators. In short, to think like entrepreneurs. That means learning in schools to take a different view of risk, a different view of what a job is, a different view of the future. The entrepreneurs will make the jobs, make the new markets, make the innovations that will keep us in a leadership role–or not. We need a new national priority–to expose children to entrepreneurship in the same way we expose them to math and science at the earliest age. This priority is as important as any wartime mobilization this country has ever had. It needs come from the top down–including our political leaders.
Otherwise– we can’t get there from here. The 1% is flying along. But even they must realize that their jet is going to hit a mountain if the vast majority can’t afford to sustain the banks and corporations whose equity is the basis of their wealth.
We are the original entrepreneur nation. We need to remember it and recommit our whole system to it, now.
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