NC Youth Demonstrate Concern over Economy, Gas Prices

By US Daily Review Staff.

Generation Opportunity’s national and state grassroots field teams began their first major sweep through North Carolina last week, meeting with and listening to young adults at a wide variety of college and community venues including the Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Jamestown, Greensboro, and Raleigh areas.

The grassroots team visited the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Central Piedmont Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, UNC Greensboro, Wake Technical Community College, UNC Charlotte, and NC State University. Last fall, Generation Opportunity grassroots organizers also met with and trained students from High Point University, Campbell University, Gardner-Webb University, and Craven Community College at the 2011 American Student Government Association (ASGA) Conference. In addition to the campus visits, the team focused on outreach to young professionals at a farmers market and “Earth Day Extravaganza” in downtown Raleigh, at the Women’s Small Business Expo in Charlotte, and also at the Cuegrass Festival in Raleigh.

“We ask ourselves each day whether we can foot the gas bill to get to work or visit home, whether we will be able to find a sustainable career when we graduate, and for how long the weight of this economic downturn will sit on our shoulders. Young people demand and deserve answers from our elected leaders, answers that demonstrate they recognize and understand our concerns. We need action, not platitudes,” said UNC Chapel Hill freshman Trevor Brownlow, 18, of Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

The Generation Opportunity field organizers traveled to the state to hear firsthand the personal stories of young adults seeking greater economic opportunity and access to meaningful, full-time jobs in their chosen career paths. Generation Opportunity has been meeting with young adults attending community colleges and universities, those who work in the trades and professions, young entrepreneurs, construction workers, veterans, and young parents who are concerned about the poor economy and the lack of jobs.

“Based on comments directly from hundreds of young people we are meeting with and listening to, the top issues of concern, directly impacting young people’s daily lives and forcing them to delay dreams and plans for the future, are high gas prices, the ongoing poor economy, and the lack of jobs. Limited job opportunities and delayed dreams for our generation are just not fair. Young people want results – they want access to jobs and the ability to plan for their futures. They are experiencing firsthand a very different reality,” said Evan Flores, Director of Field Operations for Generation Opportunity.

Flores continued, “Similar to those we have met with and signed up in Michigan, Virginia, New Hampshire, Missouri, and other states, young people in North Carolina are tired of the status quo and elected leaders who lack empathy and understanding for what young people deal with every day. The response to our message of greater opportunity and more jobs has been overwhelming, and our efforts to organize young adults across the state – both online and at the grassroots level – have been rapidly expanding.”

At each event, young North Carolinians shared their personal stories, expressing their struggles finding meaningful jobs in their chosen career path due to the poor economy and explaining how high gas prices have negatively impacted their limited budgets. They also expressed an eagerness for solutions from Washington leaders in both parties and are frustrated with the lack of results.

Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and highlighted results for all young Americans ages 18-29 appears below:

Young Americans – American Energy Dependency is Top National and Economic Security Issue:

  • Greatest threats to national security: National Debt (62%), Energy Dependency (61%), and Indebtedness to Foreign Powers (50%).
  • 70% would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal.

Young Americans – Delayed Dreams from a Poor Economy and the Lack of Opportunity:

  • 77% of young people ages 18-29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors:
    • 44% delay buying a home;
    • 28% delay saving for retirement;
    • 27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
    • 27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
    • 26% delay changing jobs/cities;
    • 23% delay starting a family;
    • 18% delay getting married.

Young Americans – Majority Disapprove of President Obama’s Management of Youth Unemployment, Washington Out-of-Touch:

  • Just 31% of 18 – 29 year-olds approve of President Obama’s handling of youth unemployment.
  • 69% say the current leadership in Washington fails to reflect the interests of the younger generation.
  • 59% of overall Millennials agree the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.

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All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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