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Monday, May 18, 2009

A Future and a Hope

My niece just moved in for a few months. Her name is Lindsay and she is doing an unpaid internship at the Jesse Brown VA Hospital in Chicago to complete her degree in Recreational Therapy from the University of Northern Iowa.

Lindsay told me that she couldn’t believe how hard she had to search just to be able to work for somebody else for free! And, Lindsay isn’t your typical 22-year-old college grad. She is twenty-seven years old and a graduate of the school of hard knocks as well. While in college these last few years, she has been working two other jobs – one as a cocktail waitress and the other as an aerobics and fitness instructor.

Lindsay has spent a great deal of money and time to earn a degree at a respected university. She has learned to manage her time and her finances wisely. She is enthusiastic and personable, and has practiced many of her degree skills already. However, finding employment in her field of training will be challenging. She faces a tough market – as do all graduates this spring.

We must, for the sake of our children, turn this situation around. Both college and high school students who study diligently, work hard and complete their education MUST be rewarded with employment. Business owners, not-for-profit executives and even corporate America must make a place for new graduates, and not by simply firing all the older employees to replace them with younger cheaper ones!

Instead, we need to think optimistically and creatively, as well as soberly and conservatively, about how to integrate these young people into the workforce. Don't rely on the the government to solve this problem. These new graduates represent your personal future and hope, as well as mine.

If you, personally, are not part of the solution, then you, personally, are part of the problem. What will you do to help?

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