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 »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.
In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."