Live Chat: Connecting Youth to Job Pathways

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Job fair breaks the ice for employment seekersMore than 200 young people from all over the country converged online this week to talk about youth access to jobs, or the lack thereof.

In the US, teen employment is near historic lows, yet companies report jobs going unfilled because they can’t find qualified workers.

Thursday’s live chat was hosted by the New Options Project Youth Advisers and joined by career counselors and administrators from youth programs, responding to many thoughtful questions and comments from concerned youths on a range of topics from the college-career pathway to dream jobs to the challenges faced by young people in trying to enter the professional world. Here’s a sampling of some of the topics they explored:

Education and Jobs:

Ash From Chicago wrote: “Unfortunately, higher education is the barrier to earn at least a somewhat comfortable living – and that’s assuming you live alone with no extra responsibilities.”

Veralyn said: “Can young people obtain the skills they need without going to traditional higher education? Maybe! Especially if he or she is looking to be an entrepreneur. But college is one of the best places to go build a strong network!”

Nate *MBMS: “Its hard to say exactly how to acquire college level communication skills (verbal and written) when its already hard for many inner city communities to produce individuals with adequate high school level communication skills.”

Gaining Experience:

Youth Radio’s Davina LaShay said: “I just would like to add on that a hard reason for youth to get a job can be lack of experience, schools do not teach you how to go out and get a job or even skills for a job.”

Youth Radio’s Derek Williams wrote: “It’s very hard to find a job when everyone requires work experience.”

Rachel shared her story: “I have a bachelor’s degree, i’ve been out of college two years and worked multiple jobs. But i (sic) still can’t get the jobs i want in writing because employers aren’t willing to hire someone with minimal experience.”

Guest said: “Employers get that youth job experience will be limited but extracurricular goes a long way. Are you active in a church group? Do you volunteer? Do you play sports? All these activities show involvement, leadership, commitment, teamwork, goal orientation, affiliation, etc.”

This event was part of the New Options Youth Advisers 2013 Live Chat series.

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