What does the future of our youth look like?

The future for youthAmerica’s 10 Million Unemployed Youth Spell Danger for Future Economic Growth. That’s the headline of a June 2013 report by the Center for American Progress, 22.5 percent of teens ages 16 to 19 are unemployed, and 1.4 million teens are neither enrolled in school nor working. Young people in general can have a hard time positioning themselves with employers due to age, shortage of experience and maturity, and lack of education and skills. Certain subpopulations face even greater barriers due to factors including race, sex, and socioeconomic status.

These challenges are heightened during an economic downturn. They are heightened right now as well by the fact that the basic nature of work is in a state of flux. Smart algorithms and networked robotics are transforming the meaning of work. Online labor markets like oDesk and the growth of sharing economy platforms hint toward fewer full-time jobs. Automation is increasingly displacing workers from routine manufacturing and service jobs. Many entry-level jobs and minimum-wage tasks are on their way out, if not already gone. On top of all that, the school-to-work pipeline doesn’t function like it used to—a college degree is no longer a surefire ticket to a good job. Some online data analytics degrees are doing good and tech in general is the way to go it seems. Everyone else is being left behind sadly. It’s just like when switch board operators were not needed any more, the future is merciless to who and what it leaves behind in a state of obsolescence.

Whether caused by a sluggish economy, technological drivers, or lack of preparation, unemployment creates lasting difficulties for youth and for the country’s economy as a whole.

Key Challenges for Youth

  • Unemployment; Under-employment: is increasing, globally;
  • Boomer ubiquity in the workforce: they are not retiring because of financial reasons and that leaves no space for younger people;
  • Workplace not aligned with modern work preferences: remote, collaborative, high values, purpose-driven; ethical;
  • Huge step to become an entrepreneur and not suitable for everyone; Freelancer is not an option because of the lack experience;
  • Limited vision: lack of global perspective leads to following known paths only. And they are merely consuming info which they are familiar with. Social circle is limited to their current environment. Not a positive image/identity for Millennials, especially from Boomers’ perspective;
  • Education not meeting market needs: limited scope and content not fitting market needs (now and in future); lacking forward thinking and whole human being -metrics for teachers
  • Culture: different roles/expectations for teachers resp. parents. Values have changed, teachers are no longer respected;
  • Habit forming/changing at an early age: families are not eating together, there is no supervision, also because both parents are working; lack of discipline.

To address the present crisis in employment for disadvantaged youth, we’ll run an online discussion and brainstorm session where our challenge is to take a deep look at The Future for Youth over the space of 4 hours and come up with some radically different ideas on how it might work; compared to what exists today.

There will be two sessions:

  • Initial discussion, Tuesday March 31st from 10 AM to 12 PM;
  • Brainstorm, Tuesday April 7th from 10 AM to 12 PM.

Participating in the discussion and brainstorm are:

  • Arnold Beekes – Facilitator;
  • David Peguero – University Teacher at UABC;
  • Romina Mendez – Preschool Teacher;
  • Pepe Paez – Parent;
  • Rotana Ty – Millennial;
  • John Wenger – Youth Expert;
  • Jorge Barba – Instigator.

I’ll be live tweeting, you can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #FutureForYouth. You can watch the livestream below:

What are your thoughts on The Future for Youth?