Your job, after graduating college, is to work really hard. In 10 years, maybe you can buy a house. It was that austere depiction of life after college that pushed Paul Singh, founder of Disruption Corporation, an asset-management firm in Arlington, Va., toward entrepreneurship.
“Your future isn’t in your control if you go down as a salary man,” he said during a Wednesday panel discussion at a National Journal and The Atlantic town-hall event on millennials in Richmond, Va., underwritten by Microsoft. “You have more risk than someone who is an entrepreneur. Your futures are not secure.”
Today’s young adults are well aware that this economy provides no guarantees of steady employment. But while many older millennials (the population born between 1980 and 2000) are now striving to find their way economically, they are also part of a generation concerned with doing good.
In 2012, a full two-thirds of millennials were interested in entrepreneurship, and more than one-quarter (27 percent) were already self-employed, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. That same year, 22 percent of millennials volunteered, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Currently Americorps, a federal program that matches more than 80,000 volunteers a year with nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and faith groups across the country, has five applicants for every volunteer space available.
While a turbulent economy nips at its heels, millennials are coming of age with a foot firmly planted in two camps: service and self-interest. Many young adults are drawn to addressing social problems — and, simultaneously, developing their own careers — by launching businesses or organizations.
Despite the difficult economy, many young people who have volunteered through Americorps are optimistic about their chances for success.
“Whether expressed through starting own business and starting own organization, they feel like ‘I can do this,’ ” said panelist Asim Mishra, of the Corporation for National Community Service, which administers Americorps.
Mark Hanis, director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University, who was also on a panel, said that millennials shouldn’t overlook opportunities for what he called “intrepreneurship,” where one brings an entrepreneurial mentality to an established company or organization.
“Existing institutions … might need fresh thinking within them. You don’t have to start your new company,” he said.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who gave the keynote interview at the town-hall, stressed the importance of service to young people regardless what paths their careers take.
Kaine, who said he supports a mandatory year of service for young people, himself took a year off from law school to work in Honduras, where he ran a school that trained carpenters and welders. “I think about it every day,” he said. His advice to today’s young people? “The things that you do that give to others are the things that are really powerful.”
What We're Following See More »
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
"President Trump informed Mexican President Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday afternoon that he will not pull the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) despite reports earlier in the day that he had considered doing so. ... The three leaders agreed to proceed quickly with renegotiation plans as the initial review process comes to a close."
"A new bill to revive a permanent nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev., fails to address the concerns of Nevada lawmakers, suggesting the latest attempt may not resolve a 20-year impasse over the issue." The state's congressional delegation "shared their opposition to the nuclear waste policy amendment during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing focused on the legislation," and promised that Gov. Brian Sandoval would oppose it at every turn. "The new bill aims to finally use some $31 billion that has accumulated in the Nuclear Waste Fund, set aside in 1982 to collect specifically for a permanent repository."