Youth Unemployment… Solving Global Issues Using Technology

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How many college graduates do you know of that are still living at home 500_medkidwcamerawithout a job? How many friends and neighbors do you talk with that have recently been laid off from their positions in lucrative careers? Have your parents/grandparents lost their nest egg in the recession like most people? Do you think about the national debt, healthcare reform, immigration reform, climate change, military budget cuts, the college debt crisis? Are you concerned with the level of global poverty? Are you worried, now?!

In the aftermath of a global financial crisis, with weak (but “improving”) job markets and slow to questionable recovery…. we, the people are left questioning what’s next? How can we possibly turn this around for generations to come?

I don’t mean to harp on the subject, but here are some more frightening stats:

  • There are 2.2 billion children in the world and 1 billion in poverty
  • The percentage of high school dropouts in the U.S. is high, and the U.S. is becoming the best half-educated country in the world
  • The 9.5 million Americans who are 30 or under, make up 41 percent of the nation’s underemployed
  • The U.S. unemployment rate for graduates of four-year colleges, between 25 and 34, was 3.9 percent in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For non graduates in that age group, it was 9.8 percent
  • Computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average in the U.S., yet less than 2.4 percent of college students are graduating with a degree in computer science
  • There’s an amazing demand for writing code. And the development languages can all be learned for free online. Yet we can’t get enough people writing code!

Is Digital Literacy the Answer?

YES! Technology has changed the way people do just about everything… with the Internet, through eCommerce, using social media, now mobile banking! (Obviously, my list is missing many tech innovations, but you get the picture). So how do we harness the promise of technology to make the world a better place? Why don’t we encourage and mentor more technology entrepreneurs and small businesses?

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Let’s match the ideas, energies and creativity of local youth with the enabling power of global technology. Let’s help these young minds create things we’ve never dreamed possible; inventions and businesses that will help make the world a better place. Enabling access to technology and education can help do this! I’m sure of it… look at what these great organizations are doing:

Microsoft Citizenship  @MSFTCitizenship is collaborating with nonprofit organizations, companies, and governments–across all sectors and geographies–to empower youth to enhance their lives and the livelihoods of others.

Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room @CWarRoom accelerates the adoption of business solutions that reduce carbon emissions at gigaton scale and advance the low-carbon economy.

Google Giving is using innovation to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. They invest in teams with bold ideas that create lasting global impact.

Facebook’s Internet.org is a project that seeks Internet access globally for all.

If we can all do our part (even if on a smaller scale) to help educate and encourage technology entrepreneurship and small business growth from our youth, who knows? We might have the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg or Marissa Mayer on our hands!

What legacy will you leave behind?

If you are on LinkedIn, please consider joining my social innovation group: http://tinyurl.com/newmbhd

Share your passion for addressing youth unemployment or other global issues that matter:

  • Who needs help? What community cause is important to you?
  • What projects and ideas are you working on to make the world a better place?
  • How can we help?

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