Friday, March 20, 2009

School of Hard Knocks

A word from our Executive Director, Marc Morgenstern

I went to a college whose anthem blissfully toasted “Bright college years with pleasures rife, the shortest gladdest years of life.” I imagine these words coming out of the upturned mouths of letter-sweatered undergrads, all male of course, whose biggest concern was the ratio of vodka to vermouth in their post-game martini. After all, post-grad jobs were easy to pluck.

Those days seem quaint now. These bright college years have lost much of their wattage to chronic worry. And the loudest refrain, at least from the college students I know, is: how do I make a living in the worst economic crisis in eighty years?

So, with glasses held high we toast the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act this week. Forgive the tortured acronym because GIVE, like a similar Senate bill, provides higher education grants to students who participate in community service projects.

This effort not only triples federally-supported volunteer activities, according to our friends at who were instrumental in pushing the bill, it answers the other question on collegiate lips: how can I afford to do good in this economy? All the calls for national service are as hollow as an empty glass if young people can only volunteer on 
their parents’ dole.

According to the latest federal stats, 15.5 percent of young people ages 16-24 are unemployed, way behind the rest of the nation's workforce. Education grants are great. But the “gladdest” legislative solution is creating real jobs that combine the urge to serve with a passable payday.


Anonymous said...

It is definitely difficult to get a job in today's economy. However, young people still need to be educated on what's going on in the world. Celebrities such as Lauren London set good examples for young people with their rising involvement in politics. Lauren London has some interesting stuff on @ College students can get a better understanding of current political issues on or CNN.

Gwen Ann Wilson said...

Hi there! I agree with you. Many young people now are unemployed specially now that there is a global recession. Thanks for sharing this insight.
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