NPR: A ‘Lost Generation of Workers’ the Cost of Young Adult Unemployment

As we try to connect our local unemployed youth with direct job openings in the healthcare industry, we can recognize that our community is not the only one struggling with this. The content of this post is taken from NPR: A ‘Lost Generation of Workers’ The Cost of Young Adult Unemployment

It makes some sense that young people might work less than their older counterparts. They are figuring out their lives, going in and out of school and making more short-term plans.

But a whopping 5.8 million young people are neither in school nor working. It is “a completely different situation than we’ve seen in the past,” says Elisabeth Jacobs, the senior director for policy and academic programs at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

“It’s a big deal. … That’s a whole cohort of Americans who are at the very beginning of their careers and are pretty dispirited,” she says.

Youth UnemploymentYouth unemployment remains remarkably high across the country. In some places, the unemployment rate among 16- to 24-year-olds is the national unemployment rate, which is currently 6.3 percent.

It’s a development that experts warn could have ripple effects for decades to come — not only for young people’s lifelong earning potential but also for their contributions to the tax base and the strength of the U.S. economy overall.

And many of them have more than just themselves to support.

“This isn’t the story of people who can’t get a job at the mall. It’s about people who are trying to support their families,” Jacobs told Morning Edition‘s Steve Inskeep. “We’re talking about a lot of American parents who are struggling.”

One of them is 22-year-old Patty Sanchez of Reno, Nev., who recently had to take several days off from her job at a call center while her young daughter had foot surgery. But there was a mix-up; Sanchez was ruled a “no-show” and fired.

Since then, the high school graduate has sent out dozens of resumes, posted on career websites and gone from store to store asking about work. Meanwhile, she has four children under the age of 5 and was recently evicted from her apartment.

“I feel like it’s a hole that I can’t seem to get myself out of, even though I’m trying,” she says. “And I’m trying to stay positive about it,”

Mark Pingle, an economist at the University of Nevada in Reno, says that a high school education isn’t enough these days — even for a place like Reno, which has traditionally had ample work opportunities in the service sector. During the peak of the recession, the unemployment rate for young adults in Nevada shot above 20 percent.

“You need, more so, an education in Nevada than in the past. You need to get skills,” he says.

But, as Alexandria Roberts is learning, even a college diploma is no guarantee. Roberts, 23, recently graduated from the University of Nevada with a degree in political science and a goal of working in political campaigns. After months of struggling to find a job in her field, she has expanded her search.

“A human resources position, any kind of office management, things like that,” she says. “I applied for these jobs, and it’s just … the opportunity is not there,” she says. “I have a bachelor’s degree, which doesn’t get you anywhere. But it’s a Catch-22: It doesn’t get you anywhere, but everybody thinks that you’re overqualified for things.”

When Alex Contreras finished high school, he knew he’d need some kind of specialty. He moved away from home and enrolled in Job Corps, a one- to two-year federal program for economically disadvantaged youth. There, he received training as a security guard, which he hoped would help him find stable employment while working toward his long-term goal of becoming a police officer.

But, so far, lacking on-the-job experience, the 20-year-old has only been able to find part-time work. He suspects that older people, with more experience, are getting the kind of entry-level positions he is aiming for.

“You maybe have all those certifications, but what about the other person? He maybe has the same certifications, but he has probably done it more than I have,” Contreras says.

But, according to Jacobs, even taking that part-time job might be better than holding out for full-time.

“If you’ve had a long unemployment spell, even if it’s in the beginning of your career, employers don’t like that. So, to start your career with that black mark on your record, it follows you for a very long time, for a variety of reasons,” she says.

Throughout the labor market, she says, experts are seeing what she calls a “cruel game of musical chairs,” in which people with more education or experience aren’t able to get jobs that they want and are instead going after positions that might require fewer skills or less experience.

“When the music stops, you have all of the college grads have taken the Starbucks jobs, and so if you’re a less educated person who, in the past, a job like that might have been kind of your go-to first job — the chairs just aren’t available to them,” Jacobs says.

And the difference has long-term impact, affecting earnings for about 20 years, according to Jacobs.

“You kind of hop on a career ladder with that first job, so that impacts your wage trajectory, because, you know, you start off on a lower rung,” she says.

“We risk really having this lost generation of workers,” Jacobs says. “And what that means in terms of the economy’s ability to innovate and compete, when you’ve kind of wasted the talents of some substantial portion of a generation, is really, it’s alarming.”

8th Annual Nehemiah Action

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The content of this post is taken from the Daily Progress coverage of the Nehemiah Action.

Maybe they aren’t changing the world, but a yearlong effort by members of a local interfaith and cross-denomination organization is changing Central Virginia.

Efforts by the Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together — IMPACT — led to Region Ten plans to double the number of hours available for children’s mental health; more funding of homeless prevention programs; better communication and cohesion among homeless service providers; and an effort by the University of Virginia Health System to train local youth for entry-level medical positions.

A thousand or more community faithful from Christian, Jewish and Islamic congregations met Monday evening at John Paul Jones Arena for the eighth annual Nehemiah Action assembly to hear from agencies tasked with implementing the organization’s goals.

The goals were set at an October meeting of the organization.

“Our primary motive is faith, not civic duty,” said Bob Bayer, of Westminster Presbyterian Church and IMPACT’s co-president. “We are not a political movement, although we acknowledge that there is a political component to almost of the injustices we hope to address.”

The assembly was called to report the results of IMPACT’s efforts at addressing social and economic injustice, from unemployment among youth to the lack of mental health care for youth. Members of the organization met to discuss proposals and spent the past six months, and longer in some cases, working with local officials.

IMPACT committee members reported strides made in serving the region’s homeless families and in preventing those with emergency needs from becoming homeless. They noted that the organization’s efforts helped bring service providers together and make an additional $250,000 available via grants.

Perhaps the big win was a commitment by Region Ten, the agency that provides mental health services for Central Virginia, to hire a part-time child psychiatrist and expand the number of treatment hours available.

IMPACT officials noted that Region Ten, funded by state money and Medicaid, had only enough child psychiatrists and psychologists available to provide 15 hours a week, from 9 a.m. to noon Fridays. That left hundreds of children without care.

“For a community with the abundance of resources this community has, this patched together program is not enough,” said Sheila Herlihy, of Church of the Incarnation Catholic Church, who served on the group’s mental health committee.

Robert Johnson, executive director of Region Ten, said he and his staff agreed.

“We believe we have developed a plan, a basic strategy to expand telepsychiatric contacts and secure a part-time child psychiatrist, which would bring us to 40 hours a week of service,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Region Ten had found grants and money available to expand telepsychiatry into Nelson and Greene counties as well as hire the part-timer.

Although the televised service should be available in both counties by the end of the year, finding a part-time psychiatrist will be more difficult, he said. He expects someone to be hired by next summer.

Impact committee members studying youth employment had asked UVa Health System to start a pilot program of tuition waivers for 30 students to train in entry-level medical positions. They estimated the cost to be $90,000.

UVa officials agreed to look into grants that would create a similar program with other funding coming from local organizations and “stakeholders.” They stopped short of promising a unilaterally funded program should the grants fail or stakeholders not be found.

The agencies agreed to report back to Impact at the organization’s October assembly.

Daily Progress: IMPACT sharpens focus on mental health services for youth


All content of this post was taken from Daily Progress coverage of our April 7th Rally.

Armed with the results of a survey of public school students in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Sheila Herlihy on Monday made her case for bolstering child psychiatric care before several hundred people at the Church of the Incarnation.

“We know of 376 students in our local schools who have seriously considered suicide,’ Herlihy said, “and kids in crisis wait an average of three months to by seen by a psychiatrist at Region Ten [Community Services Board].”

Representatives of the 26 groups comprising the nonprofit Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregating Together vowed action on the issue, culled from community meetings held the month before Virginia’s fragmented mental health system was thrust into the national spotlight with the case of Austin C. “Gus” Deeds.

The challenge comes as Region Ten, one of 40 community services boards across the state that form the backbone of the Virginia’s public mental health system, turns to localities facing for help retaining school counseling positions that would otherwise disappear when federal grant money dries up in June.

The nine social workers serving the county and city high schools and middle schools through the federal Safe Schools Healthy Students program worked with 910 students last school year and provided about 6,000 hours of mental health services, according to an annual report.

“We’re scrambling to secure funding for five of those positions,” said Neta Davis, senior director of Child and Family Services for Region Ten. “It’s been an invaluable service for the kids and the point is to prevent disasters and crises.”

Davis said she has requested that Albemarle County and Charlottesville fund two positions each at a cost of about $60,000 per position. Region Ten plans to fund the fifth.

More needs to be done to cut down the wait list for child psychiatry, Davis said, but she estimated the average for an initial consultation at four to six weeks.

 “There is definitely a wait here and there is also a wait on the private side,” she said. “We would absolutely love to have a full-time child psychiatrist, but that would cost … more than $100,000.”

The wait for counseling and other mental services is not as long, she said. Davis said the organization provided mental health services to 1,135 children in Albemarle and Charlottesville in the last fiscal year, independent of the work done in schools.

Psychiatric services for children through Region Ten are available 15 hours per week through a contract with the University of Virginia’s Child and Family Psychiatry Department and Horizons Behavioral Health. The service is provided for nine hours each week in Charlottesville, four hours in Louisa County and two hours in Nelson County, Davis said.

“There is a national shortage of psychiatrists, especially in specialty areas such as child psychiatry,” said Eric Swensen, spokesman for UVa Medical Center.

IMPACT organizers say they have tackled complex problems before. Last year, the group took on homelessness and helped organize a coalition of nonprofit associations to share information and secure grant funding.

“Because of our working in separate silos, our community was missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding to address homelessness,” said Al Horton, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Charlottesville.

The group will hear an update on the progress of this initiative at IMPACT’s signature event May 5 at John Paul Jones Arena. The goal in all efforts, big and small, is to promote social justice, said Bob Bayer, liaison to the group for Westminster Presbyterian Church.

“Justice is a state where everybody in the community is related to with respect and with equity,” Bayer said. “Not equality, equity.”


Pooled Resources for the Homeless Proposed (Daily Progress)

IMPACT’s Roundtable to Reduce Homelessness has increased collaboration between homeless care providers in only three months. Read an update from the Daily Progress below to see exactly what’s happened since the start of the Roundtable at the 2013 Nehemiah Action!

By Aaron Richardson

Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013 10:07 pm

Charlottesville officials plan later this month to consider proposals to pull the city’s resources for the homeless under one organization, according to a request for proposals on the city website.

The request calls for an organization to coordinate city and Albemarle County nonprofit groups in leveraging local, state and federal money to reduce homelessness.

The project is designed to help Charlottesville and Albemarle meet state and federal mandates that localities have mechanisms to coordinate care for the homeless, the request said.

“We believe that a more cooperative approach is currently necessary,” officials said in the request.

City officials declined to say Monday how much money the two localities have set aside for the project. Albemarle officials were not immediately available for comment.

The move should give Charlottesville and Albemarle County access to more state and federal money to fight homelessness, said Mike Murphy, Charlottesville’s director of human services.

“We are trying to provide some incentive and structure for agencies to come together and provide the kind of structure that we believe the funders at the state and federal level are looking for,” Murphy said.

The move also should get organizations working together before receiving money rather than after, said Jesse Boeckermann, program director at PACEM, a Charlottesville nonprofit group that provides warm beds for the homeless during the winter.

“Instead of collaborating after the fact, you do it beforehand, so when the funding comes out you kind of have an idea and a bigger goal,” he said.

The ultimate goal is to reduce homelessness, said City Councilor Dave Norris. ‘

“It will look at how we help more of our residents to either avoid falling into homelessness in the first place, or get back into housing as quickly as possible,” Norris said.

PACEM is putting together a response to the request, said Colleen Keller, PACEM executive director.

“The beauty of this is this is a request for proposals asking people to prove they are going to work together toward a goal … to focus on the ends, focus on the solutions to homelessness,” she said.

Proposals are due 5 p.m. Aug. 16. City officials hope to award a contract by October, Murphy said.

See the original article here.