Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Briefcase Brigades Draw Attention to Youth Unemployment

Anyone who knows a recent college grad (or anyone under the age of 30 for that matter) realizes that the current economic crisis has had a big impact on younger Americans. When there are 5 people looking for work for every job opening, after all, employers are often able to get more experience workers at a relatively small salary that used to be reserved for entry level workers. Unfortunately, Congressional leadership often ignores younger voters because they don’t think they make it to the polls on Election Day. That is why hundreds of “students, interns, and unemployed Millennials” decided to take action highlighting the struggles that younger Americans are facing during these tough economic times.

As Congress was on a district work period, youth activists from 22 states, including DC, formed what they called the Briefcase Brigades. They all went to their Congressional district offices dressed for an interview, briefcase in hand, with a generational resume to show they are ready for work, but the jobs just aren’t there. While the cost of a higher education is soaring (and the GOP is trying to cut millions from higher education), wanted Congress to pay more attention to how the unemployment for those under 30 is 16.7% -- double the national average.

The main message that the Briefcase Brigades brought to Congress was that we should take a balanced approach to the budget discussions instead of just focusing on cuts to crucial job creating programs. “Instead of focusing on job creation like most young voters want, Congress is talking about cutting necessary investments in our future,” said Briefcase Brigades spokesperson Diane May. “Deficit reduction can’t come at the expense of putting young Americans to work or building a generation that can compete in the world labor market years down the line.”

The following is a video they put together highlighting some of the thoughts of the folks taking part in the DC action.

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