If you don’t have a job and you want one, volunteering can increase your chances of getting an offer by as much as 27 percent. That’s according to Wendy Spencer, the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps and other service programs. Spencer was the keynote speaker Tuesday at a National Journal and Atlantic town-hall event on millennials in Austin, Texas, underwritten by Microsoft.
Service can be an incubator for millennials (the population born between 1980 and 2000), many of whom are turning to entrepreneurship in the face of a competitive postrecession economy. During a year with AmeriCorps, “you get leadership skills, manage budgets, fundraise,” said Spencer. “You learn how to compromise, how to negotiate, how to build consensus.”
Couple those skills with the opportunity to see how organizations and businesses operate and sustain themselves, and millennials who volunteer are primed for successful careers, Spencer said. She sees AmeriCorps alums working around the country at nonprofits, in public service, or at private companies. But millennials, a famously entrepreneurial bunch, can also use those skills to start their own businesses.
Many young people are doing just that. By 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. In 2011, millennials launched nearly 160,000 start-ups each month, and 29 percent of all entrepreneurs were between 20 and 34 years old.
Jae Kim, creator and owner of the Austin food truck Chi’Lantro, which is famous for its Kimchi fries, said persistance is key for millennial entrepreneurs. Kim, a panelist at the town hall, said he started two businesses before launching Chi’Lantro. Both failed.
Chi’Lantro has survived for four years, but access to capital has been a challenge for Kim. He recounted exhausting his savings and maxing out his credit cards to get the business rolling. He’s not alone. A 2011 survey by the Kauffman Foundation showed that 41 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds surveyed said that access to a loan or credit is a barrier to starting a business.
Despite difficulties obtaining credit, technological innovations have made it less expensive and time consuming — particularly for millennials — to start businesses, said Bob Metcalfe, professor of innovation at the University of Texas (Austin) and a panelist at the town hall.
“I hope [entrepreneurship] becomes more the rule than exception,” said Metcalfe during the panel discussion. “Instead of having five people who are monstrously successful … we’d see 100.”
It’s a message that’s getting through to young people on the Austin campus. Grant Heimer, a UT student who directs the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency and who was also on the panel, said that Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian visited the campus delivering the message that anyone with an Internet connection and a laptop can start a business. According to Heimer, “Millennials are thinking: Why not me?”
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
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.