Members of a new advocacy group -- the 80 Million Strong for Young American Jobs Coalition -- which represents the collective voices of millions of young Americans, will convene in Washington this week to participate in a summit where they will develop solutions and federal legislation aimed at putting young people to work and getting the economy back on track. The goal is to bring awareness to federal officials on issues affecting the millennial generation as a result of the economic recession: an unemployment rate of 17.3 percent among 16 - 24 year olds, undergraduate student loan debt that averages $27,000 per graduate and a rate of 30 percent without health care coverage.
What I find most interesting is that these young people are focusing much of their advocacy on opening up public sector and civic careers and investing in mission-critical fields such as technology and national security. For example, the group is lobbying Congress to create volunteer-to-career pathways that will extend grants to young people working in unpaid state and federal internships and invest in mission critical jobs and training programs that will utilize new technologies and expand sectors like the environment, health care, cybersecurity and intelligence. The group also is pushing for legislation that would advance continuing education across job sectors and extend the college loan repayment grace period.
As the federal government faces a pending retirement wave, this summit provides pretty solid proof that there's no lack of interest among young people in serving their government, and no lack of drive among them to improve government through use of new technologies.