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May 20th, 2009
09:16 AM ET

The Young and Jobless

Unemployment among the nation’s youngest workers is almost 9 points higher than the national average.  A new group is trying to change that – by pushing lawmakers to support programs that will build jobs for young people.  In our 9 a.m. ET hour, Josh Levs will speak with a head of  We’d love to hear from you.  What are your experiences? What do you think needs to be done?

Filed under: Anchors • Heidi Collins
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Mack

    How about the older and jobless who also can't find work because of age discrimination? They are the first laid off because their salaries are higher from more years in the workforce, and then no one else will hire them (chiefly because it is assumed they cost more in insurance or aren't up on latest technology)

    May 20, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  2. scott stodden

    I beleive that every age group needs jobs created in the times we live in. The jobs for young people is concern that needs to be addressed everywhere, its great that construction, green, and other jobs like this are being created but we need more jobs in this country for young people such as factory, fast food, retail, secretarial jobs etc.... are so needed because young people especially will do anything to work and get a paycheck.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, IL)

    May 20, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  3. NKBE

    Young people have more options then older people who are laid off because company's are facing economic hardships. Older people have more mouths to feed. Ageism is alive and well in the workplace. Do a story on that

    May 20, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  4. michael armstrong sr.

    our young people need to create there own jobs summertime is here they need to do like we did when we were young grab mom and dads lawnmower and go mow some lawns go and babby sit wash some cars the jobs are there they just need to use there imagination.

    May 20, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  5. scott stodden

    Jobs for young people is needed in a mighty way all across the country so it is a good thing that this group is trying to push for more jobs for younger people. So many people nowadays start working at 16 part-time so we need jobs for young people not just people with college degrees and thats not only my opinion.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Il)

    May 20, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  6. Joanne Gonzales

    This generation of young people are too dependent on the other adults in their lives to make things happen for them. They act as if they are the first generation to walk out of college in debt. Yes, the economy stinks right now but by no means should we, as a nation, be legislating who is employed and how they get employed.

    I'm all about this program to have unpaid internships in Washington, but we should NOT be legislating it. You want a job, work the pavement just like everyone else. There is not always going to be someone waiting to help you get things done. You need to do it for yourself. It's time to step up to the plate as adults and make your world happen for you.

    May 20, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  7. Mike McClintock Jr.

    Let's not forget who will be paying for the ever closer retirement for the baby boomers? Baby boomers were spoiled spending all their parents hard earned money, and now (that it's all gone) they're picking MY pocket to maintain their rockstar lifestyle. Baby Boomers have been spoiled rotten brats, living the ME ME ME life since birth. They feel entitled to sap the Social Security dry, and when it's the young workers time to settle in and retire... retire on what? The boomber spent it all! 😉


    May 20, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  8. Kate

    I only skimmed the previous comments, but I can personally attest to the misery that is the job market for current graduates with 1-2 years experience. As an 08 graduate at the top of my class, I took a job in August that gave me a chance and then was laid off in February... and I'm the kid who worked a full-time job in corporate America, part timed in PR (my trained field) and joined a non-profit committee.

    I'm finding that I'm being beaten out of positions because the 5-YR professionals, who have also been laid off, are taking my entry-level in.

    I can only speak for marketing and public relations when I say that the job market sucks for the "youngins"' that don't have experience and, in turn, can't get experience.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  9. Robert Werner

    My name is Robert. I'm 20yrs old and go to ITT Tech for Computer Network Systems. I'm 43K in debt due to student loans. Unfortunetly with the lack of jobs in my area,the only way I see to pay off student loans (or at lest an attempt at it) would be the military. Can you offer me any advice?? BTW I *LOVE* CNN

    May 20, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  10. Lisa Hall

    I think he should be allowed to return to the NFL, as long as they don't have a rule about convicted felons playing in the league. He's paid his debt to society, learned a great deal (as evidenced by his commitment to teach others about the consequences of dog fighting), and has been humbled to a point that most of us will never experience.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  11. marilyn miller

    I think that if Mr Vick works really sincerely hard with the humane society to end the dog fighting sport, then he should have a second chance.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  12. Isaac

    I believe that every one learn from their mistake and some learn in a hard way while others are not.
    All in all i think he should be allowed as a second chance ,However he should promise not to engage in such kind of dirty business

    May 20, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  13. Josh

    As a graduate of a very expensive school of arts, I worked an unpaid internship immediately after graduation. I got a paying job then was laid off. That was over a year ago. Since then I moved into my parents house, sold my car and have backed up on my loan bills. Companies in my specialized field aren't interested in looking at me for perspective job opportunities because they can't even afford to keep the people in there offices as it is. There just isn't enough work. As a creative director 10 years ago, I would have had a high paying job by now. After all, advertising agencies love fresh ideas. In any other economy, with the portfolio of work I have created, there is no reason I wouldn't have a great job.
    Age 27 and Broke!

    May 20, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  14. Regional Pilot

    I am a young regional pilot in our country today. I can't say who and stay anonymous in order to keep the job I have, which I wish I didn't have to rely on. I'm back in school getting my masters degree in order to enter the job market and eventually get a new job, well out of this declining and unsafe industry. With the recent events of 3407 in buffalo, the issues are finally being brought to light. Low pay, which means low quality coupled with unsafe fatigue issues placed on all of us here in the airlines. I believe more so in the regional carriers. I hope one day someone send you our daily schedules and you can explain the difference between whats on the paper and what is reality. There have been many times I'm been on duty for 13 hours and only got 4 or 5 hours of actual sleep. Obviously I need out of this industry and I need to get a real job with a paycheck better than what I could get as a manger at McDonalds. I hope these jobs will be available by graduation. I can't wait to get a real job.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  15. Mark

    I came out college in 1981 in a job market and economy much worse than the current government created one we are in now. I never considered calling my congressional representatives or crying on CNN about the government needs to get me a job. We are in trouble if this is our future leaders.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  16. Sean

    Young students, primarily high school upperclassmen and college students should be the focus. We as students are the next generation, the generation where we are faced with the mistakes of our parents and grandparents generation. We as highschool and college students should be able to at least enter the workforce as interns. Paid or non-paid. It will not only benifit ourselves but as well as the economy.

    Sean (Tallahassee, Florida)

    May 20, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  17. Ian

    The divide, globally, between youth and the older generations in power is astonishing. Forget the troubles in the US. Got to Africa and developing nations where, through conflict and HIV/AIDs, among other issues, the youth demographic (under 24) can be 70%. Youth are marginalized financially and politically. However, they persevere - creating their own youth-run agencies to create social benefits. Look at for a new program to help those youth groups amplify there good works in education, health, nutrition, climate change and gender issues. This economy and the state of young people in the US are challenges - but there are lessons to be learned around the world, in much less fortunate countries, where innovation, commitment, vision and hard work actually make a difference.

    May 20, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  18. Whitney Deane

    This WSJ article points to the fact that young people are facing discrimination because of their age – more so than their older counterparts.

    May 20, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  19. warren

    obama is taking our country right down the toilet i cant believe all the idiots that voted for him change you can believe in yes change for the worse i have never been less proud to be an american

    May 20, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  20. Michael Boampong

    At the age of 18 when I was about to complete high school I attended a seminar on Building the Capacity of Youth for the 21st Century. At the event I realized that the 21st century presents both opportunities and challenges. I realized that most young people whom I have met and interacted with did not know the real meaning of Education in its broad and comprehensive sense. I believe that a global education needs to be something more than just classes and lessons learned. It's about researching, discussing, and taking action on some important issues that can be dealt with using minimal resources. For some people whom I met the challenge for them was that they did not have the information to enable them to take action. As a result of this experiences, having completed my secondary school education, I decided to take a year off before attending college to pursue my dream of creating a youth-led programme that would inform, educate and empower youth to change the world.
    My understanding of education is something that reaches beyond school walls and engages the community, that challenges students to create, to criticize and to look for solutions that will tackle current global issues at the local level, with community leaders accepting young people as important partners in addressing the current global challenges.
    After launching this initiative and during one of our house to house fundraising sessions, my team members along with myself met a lawyer who insisted that it was impossible for a twenty-year-old with little-to-no funding to create a non-profit organization and get it up and running. But he was wrong; the existence of Young People We Care ( its achievements shows this. For example, thanks to the support of our volunteer staff and the mentoring of our core staff, in 2007 we inspired ten youths to set up their own income generation activities.
    When I entered the university in 2004 I again saw the lack of real understanding of how education can inspire, inform and lead to definite action. In my opinion education has not been well defined in Ghana for young people. I have always advocated for an education that can be much more engaging. I think that education should be more than simply covering principles of geometry or literature, but, in addition, should practically prepare students to be responsible citizens.

    I think that for most of us in Ghana (should be common among most developing nations) and talking from personal point of view if i had not gone the extra mile of getting myself in development related actions whilst in school i wouldn't have know about global frameworks like the MDGs and how i can take action. Education in Ghana as a country has been kind of "chew and pour". Literally it has been for students to memorize what the teacher has taught the class and then get them to give him/her the same lecture notes back without pushing students to go the extra mile of researching to know something new and adding value. This situation is even common in universities. For me i think my education was worth it at the university as a social scientist, i was able to learn from my lecturers and also relate it to global scene and try to localize the issue to see how a global framework like the MDGs applies to my local community for me to take action. That of course gave me an upper-hand in most of the development oriented courses that i took as i had good grades. But i feel that African countries and my country, Ghana will have to review how teachers teach and also the curriculum to take action on how making "global partnership can work for development". This can be done through live chats and sharing of best practices or ideas among young people from different regions of the world.

    I think our world leaders and African governments in particular would have to work towards bring up a new generation of young people who will be job creators than job seekers. Talking from this point i would l also want to emphasize the fact that young people must been given the needed support and also adult who have more experience should be ready to support such kind of young people through mentoring,advise, etc

    May 20, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  21. Mohammed Awal Abdallah

    I believe that every young person must get him or her self involved in doing something whilst putting pressure on our leaders to act on their commitments on the MDGs due to be achieved by 2015.Young people should also not forget that, achieving universal basic education in my opinion is the only way we can win the war against poverty.All of us should therefore encourage young people everywhere to take education seriously.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  22. David

    the dow jones, it's just a lot of bull after all and who cares? it's not important or significant or meaningful. there's nothing to it right, it doesn't stand for anything or anything so who cares if it's up 900 pts in a day who cares, up 200pts in a day who cares, there's no great joy that's going to open up just another day, nothing special, nothing to write home about, nothing to hurry up about, something to laugh at maybe

    May 20, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  23. David

    Thank you for this shill to people in their twenties. If the economy had not be so completely used, maybe we'd all be doing better.

    May 20, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  24. eileen

    We feel Michael Vick should NOT be allowed back into the NFL even though he is attempting to make things right by working with the Humane Society of the United States .

    He is doing that to look good and get back into football, End of story!

    People like him don't change ...

    May 20, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  25. David

    @eileen I'm sure you've never even spoken to Michael Vick, but the judgmentalness is totally expected. You should see Randi Kaye's report on how some of Michael Vicks were rehab for some insight that might help you.

    May 20, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  26. David

    He is doing that to look good and get back into football, End of story!

    People like him don’t change …

    c'mon eileen

    May 20, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  27. tamoifo nkom marie

    unemployement is a shame for a country and it happens when a country has no vision.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  28. Chak

    The young generation in thiscountry are not getting enough support and tools to better their career and comeup in life. They are being misguided by politicians for their selfishness and greed.
    Why should the education is so expensive and not youngesters can afford it? While should a student has to borrow student loan, while in other countries like India, China, kids never worry about fees or books? American companies like GE, Microsoft , Allstate and many other big corporations have shifted thousands of ordinary jobs to other countries in the name of talent, for cheap labour. Top executives are distributing the profits of the company like crazy. These are the two most important reasons we are in this kind of recession. If any one tries to raise these issues, immediately the lobbyists are jumping and making things very hard and calling it Socialism etc, for taking it up. Is it not like steling when few guys swindle money of a corporation in the name of talent? How these executives were getting paid 10 years ago? We are Capitalistic Country and always remains Capitalist Country, but needs some good regulation where ever needed. Students should wake up and fight for these causes.

    May 21, 2009 at 7:27 am |
  29. Msafiri

    Hi good People,

    I read with alot of interest what you guys are going through and cant help but wonder what happens to us Africans and especially young people in Kenya. We have for so many years lacked any form of employment with the government of the day dilly-dallying with the interests of the chosen few, not initiating enough programmes to cater for the huge human capital that we currently face, I believe, in the USA and the world over, young people face equally the same challenges and this is particularly a good platform for us to share best practices, "what works" and see that we can also support our other young people, I work with Kenya Youth Parliament, and I know, just like you, the huge economic burden that we( Youth) face as we try to make ends meet.

    Its saddening enough though that as the USA and Europe are trying really to address the Youth unemployment, African Leaders are busy amassing wealth from public coffers and relocating the same to offshore accounts.

    I believe that we can use this platform to share best practices, expand our horizons on business opportunities, thinking critically outside the box so that we may, not only for us, but for the future Youth to come after us, squarely and systematically address the issues of Youth Unemployment. kudos to Barack Obama's Administration on what its doing to minimize the effects of economic meltdown.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  30. Albert Nashon

    Youth and employment is a sensitive political and social tool for most office bearers in governments. However as young people if we also learn to be supportive of our own innovations, accomodative of our own weaknessess and willingness to share acquired knowledge, we will by far capture the minds of decision making machineries and control instruments of change. We cannot spend entire days in lamentation of what our forerunners never prepared for us, Yes we can! I helped found the Slumcode group a community based organization in Nairobi – Kenya and challenges have become great opportunities for learning, growth and development. With more support and goodwill....we can control our destiny and mould it into a strong generation of the crop of leadership we so desire.

    May 28, 2009 at 8:51 am |
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