Youth Education & Unemployment – Designing a System that Works

by ThinkFeminist on January 23, 2013

This week we celebrated the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States amidst a slow-growth economy, a decade of war that is now coming to an end, unemployment, major tax changes and so much uncertainty. None of this bothers me as much as unemployment. And as much as I am for retirement & medicare for our seniors, universal healthcare and gun safety/control, one issue that has not being largely addressed is the amount of youth unemployed in this country. It is astonishing the number of talented young men and women without jobs. This accounts for the large number of start-ups that we see (most of which fail anyways, about 99% is the number actually), but who can blame us from trying right?

Some of us were lucky. I started working at the age of fourteen and since then I have been fortunate to work for companies like Microsoft, PepsiCo, Mosaic, Intel, DuPont and HP.  And I know from experience that it takes a strong professional/critical skill such as engineering (manufacturing), nursing (healthcare) and essentially fields that are critical to an emerging world to get hired straight out of college. And I hope that the youths are taking note. As much as I love majors like Philosophy, Music, Social Science and the likes of them, unless you really are sure of what path your life will take or you have major resource and backing, college kids really need to start re-evaluating their career choices.

There is also the argument of employers not finding the critical skills needed in this global economy, which begs the question of the quality of our education. As I searched rigorously for answers, I stumbled on a research conducted by McKinsey & Company , a very good read and if you have the time, download the report here. A short infographic is also shown below.

Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. How can a country successfully move its young people from education to employment? What are the challenges? Which interventions work? How can these be scaled up? These are the crucial questions.

Education to employment

What are your experiences with unemployment? Do you think the traditional college education is worth it? If you could change your major, what would it be?

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