Group Pushes For Jobs For New Graduates

By Staff

June 26, 2009

A new organization fighting for legislation to create and sustain new jobs for recent graduates announced its plan of action yesterday.

"Unemployment numbers are looking grim for our generation, so we seek to maintain a positive and innovative outlook on these problems," said Maya Enista, co-chair of the group, 80 Million Strong For Young American Jobs, who was quoted in Inside Higher Ed. "We think young people can solve these problems."

Matthew Segal, co-chair of 80 Million Strong and executive director of the Student Association for Voter Empowerment, explained the goals of the organization during a teleconference that took place on Thursday. They included providing assistance for entrepreneurship, preventing college debt and encouraging public service careers, creating jobs in the "mission-critical" job sectors such as in healthcare and national defense, and focusing on green jobs.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch [from an article originally located at] reports that the group--which gets its name from the 80 million members of the "millennial" generation--is planning a national summit in Washington during July to bring attention to the problems that young people face.

"There are long-term issues that people in our generation are going to have to deal with," said Alice Goldenberg, a junior at Washington University who is planning the summit. "I think everyone is realizing that the debt that we're facing and issues like health care are not going to get fixed overnight, and if we don't take action and try to start now, they're going to be around for us to deal with in a worse way in the future."

According to the organization's Web site, the average college student graduates with $27,000 in student loan debt, and 30 percent are uninsured. Moreover, statistics indicate that people ages 16-24 represent one-third of the unemployed, even though they make up 15 percent of the nation's work force.

Tatiana McKinney, a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, knows that young people are facing a tough job market. She plans to attend the summit next month.

"It's supposed to be an exciting time," she told the Post-Dispatch about being an unemployed new graduate. "But when there's nothing available and everybody is scuffling for the same job opportunities, then it becomes hard."

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