Friday, August 1, 2014

35 Percent. Really?

 Louis Miceli

By Lou Miceli
Executive Director, JobsFirstNYC

If I told you that over 1 in 3 - 35 percent - of all young, working-age New Yorkers cannot get and keep good jobs, and are either out of school and work or so underemployed that they may never beat the cycle of poverty, subsisting in low-wage jobs, would you be shocked? Dismayed? Appalled?

If I told you that figure - well over 300,000 people, which would rank in the top 60 largest cities in the United States (close to that of Pittsburgh, PA and Toledo, OH) - represents a crisis for New York City businesses with respect to their present and future talent needs, would this increase your concern?

While I have felt many of these things as I have come to terms with this reality, the most compelling thing I actually feel is hope. While the challenges are many, complex, and enduring, young people are still are greatest hope for our future as a City, and for our country, and I see it as part of my job and the job of my organization, JobsFirstNYC, to ensure that hope will endure.

In our recently released report, Unleashing the Economic Potential of the 35 Percent, JobsFirstNYC lays out four concrete, workable strategies to push back against these daunting numbers, and to offer a blueprint to truly engage, galvanize, and leverage business, civic, philanthropic, and nonprofit leadership as agents of change, agents of hope for our young people today and tomorrow.

New York is certainly not alone, as a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation points out, over 6.5 million young people nationally are in the same circumstances, and all of this is also in context of a global crisis; many countries are struggling with this issue as we are. But if we work together, we work creatively, and we work with young people and with their futures first in mind, it is my firm belief that we can and will make a difference.

I would love to hear what you think of this report. It is also my hope that you will join us in this effort!

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