Where Are Jobs for Recent Graduates?

By Kendra McCormick

The recession negatively impacts young people looking to enter the workforce for the first time, and as a recent college graduate, I can easily see how the recession is impacting my peers and me. I have experienced firsthand how difficult it is to find full-time, paid employment in my field of study, and I know many other people in the same position as myself.

Therefore, when President Obama announced the American Jobs Act, I was excited to hear what he would have to offer for recent graduates, but I had a hard time seeing what was in this plan for people like me. How will students lower their debt, and how will opportunities be built for them to begin a career after college? It is clear that something has to be done.

During my job search, I have come across countless articles describing the hardships of unemployed and underemployed college graduates. The price of tuition at many schools has skyrocketed, yet entry-level wages for college graduates are down. Statistics show that my generation is taking a longer amount of time to become financially stable and independent. Furthermore, many experts speculate that students who graduate during the recession will be left enduring long-lasting economic and professional consequences, including stunted professional development and decades of lower wages. And it is not only college graduates who are suffering: regardless of education, America’s youngest workers have been hit harder than average by the recession.

Because reducing unemployment is so critical for my generation’s success, I support the American Jobs Act. Although there was not much mention of how it would specifically benefit recent college graduates, it does aim to expand opportunities for low-income youth, and it prioritizes creating lasting economic change. Additionally, the American Jobs Act would have a positive impact on women, who have yet to benefit from the recovery as much as men have.

Overall, I believe that passing this bill would be a step forward, for my generation, for women, and for reducing unemployment. However, I hope that more will also be done to specifically benefit the large numbers of recent graduates who have thus far been unable to launch their careers. After all, what better incentive is there for young people to continue their education than a clear correlation between education and jobs?


Kendra McCormick is a 2011 graduate of George Washington University and Program and Policy Intern at the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

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