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In 2012, Youth Radio has closely covered youth employment, tracking how educators and industry are creating innovative career pathways for young adults. Youth Radio’s New Options Desk told stories ranging from tests that address the skills gap, public private partnerships that lead community college students to jobs, and the implications for young workers as baby-boomers age out of the workforce.
Two years ago Breyana Scales says she was stuck between a dead end job painting kids’ faces at a theme park while trying to get through college. The balancing act proved to be hard for her. “If I had to work a lot I wouldn’t be able to do homework and if I had to go to school and do homework I wouldn’t be able to afford rent,” she said.
According the US Department of Education, New Mexico ranks last in the country in high school completion rates. Major employers in that state complain of difficulty finding qualified job applicants. But a new statewide effort piloted by Santa Fe based Innovate+Educate is de-emphasizing the high school diploma in favor of a standardized test that many believe will make it easier to hire the right people.
Around this time last year I was busy applying to college. Clicking that ‘submit’ button on my online applications, I imagined myself in New York City, going to poetry readings and cramming for various exams. I listened to Patti Smith and Lou Reed over and over in anticipation of receiving acceptance letters. But my acceptance letters were followed by even more important pieces of mail, my federal financial aid statements, or FAFSA.
Youth employment in the United States is the lowest it’s been in 60 years, according to the Pew Research Center. Young people graduating from high school struggle to find jobs, and also face brutal college tuition costs. Educators are struggling to really prepare their students in high school for a career.
Comedian Chris Rock has this great stand up bit where he talks about working at Red Lobster as a teen, dishwashing in the back of the restaurant. His job was to basically scrape shrimp into trashcans all day. I’ve also worked as a dishwasher, so I know what it’s like to come home stinking of Hollandaise. Touching left-overs isn’t even the worst part. What’s worse, Rock says, is glancing up at the clock.
Northern California utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric could lose nearly have of their entire workforce in the next five years. They call the wave of grey haired retirees The Silver Tsunami, and since cutting the power isn’t an option, PG&E is relying on a program called PowerPathway to train a new generation of utility workers.
US manufacturing boasts the highest combined wages and benefits of any economic sector, but according to the Manufacturing Institute, more than 600,000 factory jobs went unfilled last year due to the skills gap. That group has been working on a solution in the form of a training program called Right Skills Now which boasts an impressive promise to young job seekers — 16 weeks to a job.
For many young people, tattoo removal goes more than skin deep. Simon Alison was in 9th grade and struggling with school when he got his first tattoos — two clown faces, one happy one sad, on the tops of his hands. They matched his philosophy on life at the time: “laugh now, cry later.” Thinking back on those days, Alison, now 21, runs his fingers over the dark ink lines and shakes his head. “I was a different person back then,” he says. “Life moves on.”
Jobstacles is Youth Radio’s video series, where we tell the stories of teens figuring out the job scene. You’ll hear about the serious challenges and crazy scenerios that young people sometimes encounter as they seek employment. In this episode, Ryan Tran shares his experience trying to get a job through a training program called the Youth Leadership Council. Trouble was, mostly he just wanted to flirt with his cute fellow trainies. Let’s see if he gets the job…
Jobstacles is Youth Radio’s video series, where we tell the stories of teens figuring out the job scene. You’ll hear about the serious challenges and crazy scenerios that young people sometimes encounter as they seek employment. In this episode, Dawit Gebremedin talks about leveraging some nepitism in order to get a third shot at impressing the bosses at Kentucky Fried Chicken, after bombing an earlier interview. Let’s see if he gets the job…
Jobstacles is Youth Radio’s video series, where we tell the stories of teens figuring out the job scene. You’ll hear about the serious challenges and crazy scenerios that young people sometimes encounter as they seek employment. Merrick Yra really wanted a job, so much so that he was willing to apply at Petco, even though he has major pet allergies. Sniffle sniffle. Scratch scratch. Let’s see if he gets the job…
When Shannon Mills left her job as the director of a nonprofit in Berkeley, California about five months ago, she didn’t know what her next job would be. After freelancing for awhile, she decided to hunt for something more permanent.