By Generation Opportunity, Special for US Daily Review.
Generation Opportunity’s field team continued their grassroots organizing efforts in North Carolina at BusinessExpo 2012, presented by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Piedmont Triad Business Showcase, organized by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. More than 2,000 young professionals, entrepreneurs, and business leaders attended the event in Raleigh, where Generation Opportunity’s staff met with and listened to hundreds of young adults. In Greensboro, Generation Opportunity sponsored and participated in the region’s largest trade show.
“As a North Carolinian, I can tell you that young people are very concerned about the direction of the state and the country. High unemployment continues to take a toll on their lives, stands in the way of their plans for the future, and also impacts their families and friends,” said Jonathan Bandy, Regional Field Director for Generation Opportunity. “People know that the policies coming out of Washington are denying them opportunities to contribute and fulfill their dreams. It is a real source of pressure, and young people know that we in North Carolina, and across America, can do better – everywhere I go I meet folks that are enthusiastic about getting involved in our efforts.”
Young adults at both events identified record unemployment, the lack of economic opportunity, and high gas prices as the top issues they would most like to see addressed by elected officials. They also cited business expansion, not more government, as one of the most effective solutions to solving the lack of economic opportunity, indicating government spending and regulation is the greatest barrier to economic growth.
Generation Opportunity is continuing its efforts in the Tar Heel State, participating in the 17th annual Speed Street/600 Festival. The three-day event celebrates the May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and fills the streets of Uptown Charlotte with enthusiastic motor sports fans. Generation Opportunity is sponsoring an exhibit and GO field organizers will be on hand to engage young adults throughout the weekend. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the Coca-Cola 600, the only 600-mile event in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
GO field organizers have traveled across North Carolina 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.
Generation Opportunity began its first major sweep through North Carolina in April, connecting with young adults at a wide variety of college and community venues including Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Jamestown, Greensboro, and Raleigh. The GO 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. In addition to the campus visits, the team focused on outreach to young professionals at farmers markets and the “Earth Day Extravaganza” in downtown Raleigh, at the Women’s Small Business Expo in Charlotte, and also at the Cuegrass Festival in Raleigh.
Last fall, Generation Opportunity grassroots organizers met with and trained student leaders from High Point University, Campbell University, Gardner-Webb University, and Craven Community College at the 2011 American Student Government Association (ASGA) Conference.
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.
According to a statement, “Generation Opportunity is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(4) organization that seeks to engage everyone from young adults, to early career professionals, college students, young mothers and fathers, construction workers, current service men and women, veterans, entrepreneurs, and all Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow.”