After the 2007 recession, you could say that young opportunity seekers in Baltimore and other big cities "started from the bottom." Many still remain close to bottoming out at work and at the bank.
The opportunity market for youth and young professionals has been up and down for the better part of the last decade. Starting in 2007, making career transitions after college or across industries and gaining career traction through living-wage employment have been more difficult. This trend can be seen in national and local workforce trends, including high rates of disconnected youth and underemployment and unemployment among Millennials and Gen Z (people 18-37).
By now, we've all read the news articles and watched the features on young careerists struggling to pay down college loans, make rent each month, and pinch pennies for retirement. What may be less clear is how young people getting stuck in the gig economy or in the unemployment line is putting a drag on our economy.
Future economic growth and sustainability - from building new roads and schools to paying for social security - depend on the earning and buying power of young people. And while the overall economy is doing better and unemployment is low, drilling down shows that Millennials and Gen Z have been slow bounce back and many are living at or below the poverty line. So how can we keep young people and our cities from bottoming out?
By most accounts, retaining Millennial and Post-Millennial talent and connecting the to living-wage jobs are key to growing and sustaining large urban centers like Baltimore. However, our country's job search connectivity crisis is a bigger-picture problem that trickles down to the local level. The result is a ton of missed connections between young, diverse opportunity seekers and organizations looking for young, diverse talent, not to mention an increase in perceived opportunity and skills gaps.
The answer is a company that connects tomorrow's opportunity seekers with local and national talent seekers creating pathways to sustainable employment - through career and workforce development programs, scholarships, apprenticeships, and jobs. That's what LegUp is all about! This is personal to us, so we are taking the lead on solving the job connectivity crisis starting here in Baltimore.
So don't get down on Millennials and Gen Z as we try and make our way in this crazy thing called life. Help us get a leg up, instead! Interested in learning more? Follow us on social media and join our email list to get updates on the LegUp app!