Millennials Combine Entrepreneurship and Service

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and National Journal's Ron Brownstein
National Journal
Stephanie Czekalinsk
Add to Briefcase
Stephanie Czekalinsk
April 16, 2014, 2:38 p.m.

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 »
NEW FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT
24 Individuals Report Health Affects from Attacks in Cuba
8 minutes ago
THE LATEST
HUSBAND “AN UNBELIEVABLE HERO”
Listen: Soldier’s Widow Shares Video of Her Call with Trump
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Natasha De Alencar, widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, shared a video her daughter took of a phone call she received from President Trump following the death of her husband. "Trump opened by saying how sorry he is about the 'whole situation,' before adding that De Alencar’s husband was 'an unbelievable hero.' ... Later in the call, Trump invited De Alencar to the White House, telling her, 'If you’re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office.'"

Source:
MANY ARE PUZZLED
Robert Mugabe Appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The new head of the World Health Organization has named Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador for the agency, a move that has startled public health experts...A number of organizations that attended the" Montevideo conference where the appointment was announced "said in a statement after the announcement that they could not recognize Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador."

Source:
TRUMP’S ATTORNEY WAS SET TO TESTIFY ON WEDNESDAY
Senate Intel Postpones Testimony by Cohen
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
CAN LIKELY MOVE THROUGH THE HOUSE WITHOUT CONFERENCE
Senate Passes Budget Bill
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Senate approved the Republican-proposed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts. The budget, which now moves to the House, is projected to expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Its passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login