Contact: Matthew Segal, SAVE executive director, 847-502-5012, matthew.segal(at)savevoting.org;
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC- The Committee on Education and Labor in the U.S. House of Representatives has announced it will hold a hearing this Thursday, October 1st at 10am entitled “Ensuring Economic Opportunities for Young Americans.” The hearing was scheduled as a result of a conference organized by the 80 Million Strong for Young American Jobs Coalition, which convened hundreds of young leaders in the U.S Capitol to urge Congress to examine the disproportionate effects of the economic recession on young Americans.
Data shows that youth unemployment is nearly double the national average:
- 18% of all 16-24 year olds are unemployed compared to a 9.7% national average (BLS)
- Young African-American unemployment has climbed to 27.3% (BLS)
- Young Latino unemployment stands at 21.37% (BLS)
- Undergraduate debt from student loans averages $27,000 per graduate
- $2000 dollars is the average amount of credit card debt by the age of 24
- 30% of young people are uninsured, the highest of any age group, according to the Kaiser Foundation
To address this crisis head-on, nearly thirty of the nation’s leading youth organizations launched the 80 Million Strong for Young American Jobs Coalition, working collaboratively to endorse various policy platforms that will create jobs and economic opportunity for the 80 million members of the millennial generation.
The coalition’s proposals center on four areas: increasing entrepreneurship resources, student debt reform, access to public service careers, and the creation of “mission critical” jobs that tap young talents.
“In a recession, young people are great sources of innovation and entrepreneurship – yet because of predatory lending and debt, our generation is also more hamstrung at an earlier age than we have ever been. We need some breathing room in which to create new ideas for a new economy,” said 80MS national co-chair Matthew Segal, executive director of Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE). “Young people are inherently entrepreneurial. We need a legislative environment that supports, not burdens, young ideas,” stated Segal.
“In order to strengthen the American economy, we must invest in young adults today,” said 80MS co-chair Hilary Doe, director of Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. “Our parents and grandparents have been hit hard by this crisis; their security and retirement is on the line. The Millennial generation is already stepping up by going home and working hard to support their families. We cannot leave this young generation crippled with debt and waiting for jobs; we need to help them stand up and lead the new economy, lifting the burden off all generations in the process.”
“Whether it be providing grant money to low-income youth for historically unpaid service and internship positions or increasing access to community college, many Americans need more opportunities to get the skills and training they need to build the 21st century economy that will power our country for the future,” said Maya Enista, CEO of Mobilize.org and co-chair of the 80MS coalition. “And by investing in mission critical sectors like health care, national security, and green jobs, our Congress can further grow our economy by opening new opportunities where young people are ready to serve, and where our nation most needs our labor.”
News of Thursday’s hearing comes just weeks after the 80 Million Strong Coalition issued a formal letter to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) requesting a hearing to exhibit the financial concerns of young Americans. “This is a big victory for young people,” said Matthew Segal, “we are confident that Thursday’s hearing will demonstrate how our generation has developed and expanded its record-breaking civic engagement since the 2008 election.”
For more info, please visit http://80millionstrong.org