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Can Tech #FixYoungAmerica?

March 8, 2012

The Young Entrepreneurship Council’s newest initiative, #FixYoungAmerica, was rolled out this week, to address “the twin epidemics of youth unemployment and underemployment.” Student debt is nearing $1T and and youth unemployment is higher than is has been in 60 years, however Millennials are seemingly optimistic, with 15% of them starting businesses while in college, and 23% starting businesses as a result of being unemployed.

#FixYoungAmerica launched their campaign with a fundraising effort, and a book launch is coming later this spring, but they say that they aren’t looking to solve the issues by “throwing money at the problem,” but they are attempting to spread the conversation, to search for practical solutions for America’s youth. But this campaign is not about making Millenials’ lives easier, but to ensure that they are being prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders.

The book will be a guide to overcoming those “twin epidemics,” with commentary from leading educators, entrepreneurs, politicians, and nonprofit leaders, amongst others. While we will have to wait until May to see the final product, below we have some key points from YEC’s founder Scott Gerber.

1. Integrate Academia and the Real World
Many employers today feel that graduates entering the workforce are lacking in innovation and leadership skills. By adding entrepreneurship programs in schools and communities, students develop the skills needed to recognize opportunity and take risks, while dropout rates and community engagement will also improve.
2. Eliminate Government Barriers
A recent study has shown that 88% of young people feel the government does not support them. YEC suggests passing the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, and the VET Act of 2011 in order to rebuild this trust, and to help young Americans start their own businesses.
3. Invest in and Mentor Young Entrepreneurs
Leaders in business, nonprofits, and venture funds need to team up with educational organizations and campus groups to mentor, finance, and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Business and government need to make more common-sense avenues for youth to gain financial support to start and grow their businesses, and we need to be encouraging people to be working in those startups.
4. Teach Technology Inside and Outside the Classroom
Schools need to be teaching their students not just basic computer skills, but more involved topics like software engineering. Small-to-medium businesses with strong web presences grow at twice the pace of those whose web presence is minimal, and students need to be prepared to excel in that environment.
5. Foster Entrepreneurship at the Regional Level
Cities need prevent youth from leaving cities by creating networks for entrepreneurs so that they can more easily access local resources and cut through red tape. These regional networks need to foster the exchange of ideas and provide financial support, which will in turn lead to growth.

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