What are Virginia’s Youth Concerned About?

By Generation Opportunity, Special for US Daily Review.

The grassroots team from Generation Opportunity concluded its fourth major organizing tour across the Commonwealth of Virginia, listening to and organizing young people from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations. The team met with college students, young parents, young entrepreneurs, and those working in various trades.

Among the top issues raised by Virginia’s young adults were the poor national economy, rising federal debt, unemployment, and the lack of full-time jobs. They also cited rising gas prices as the reason why it costs more to get to work, get to school, see family, and pay other bills.

“Virginia’s young adults are confident in their own skills and in their capacity to advance any enterprise. Yet, they are very frustrated by a national status quo defined by the lack of economic opportunity, fewer full-time jobs, increased federal spending and debt, and rising gas prices. Not surprisingly, they feel they are paying the price for failed leadership in Washington through their own delayed dreams, postponed careers, and ongoing challenges just to make ends meet,” said Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor. “Increasingly, young adults across the country are coming to a similar conclusion – in order to get America moving forward, the country needs stronger leadership that mirrors their own level of creativity, intellectual curiosity, and openness to solutions that are created outside of government.”

Over the course of the past year, Generation Opportunity has traveled throughout Virginia including to the Tidewater, Richmond, Northern Virginia, and Charlottesville areas.

On this, the group’s fourth tour in VA, the Generation Opportunity team included stops at Northern Virginia Community College, University of Virginia, James Madison University, Patrick Henry College, George Mason University, and the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center. Generation Opportunity also connected with young people at the 16th Annual Youth Art Month Exhibit in Charlottesville, VA at the Massanutten Regional Library.

Prior to this, the organization had been active on the ground in Virginia in multiple communities including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Williamsburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Lexington, Sterling, Centreville, and other areas. Local activities have included discussions with young business leaders and entrepreneurs at events such as the 9th Annual “Que Pasa? Festival,” a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month for folks in the Richmond area.

In the Charlottesville area last fall, Generation Opportunity field team leaders participated in several events and discussions with young adults, business association representatives, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other experts. Generation Opportunity also served as a co-sponsor of the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, which included business executives representing dozens of regional businesses, and also participated in the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business E-Conference. College and university visits included Liberty University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington and Lee College, Virginia Tech, the College of William and Mary, and Old Dominion University.

Generation Opportunity has provided both in-person and online training for young adult leaders in Virginia. Last year, at the American Student Government Association (ASGA) Conference, Generation opportunity trained leaders from Blue Ridge Community College, Christopher Newport University, Marymount University, Northern Virginia Community College, the University of Richmond, and students from the Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach campuses of Tidewater Community College on strategies and social media tactics for effectively organizing other young adults.

Recently, Generation Opportunity expanded its national grassroots efforts through its online “Grassroots Training Guide Series” by making all guides available in Spanish. The series is available at http://generationopportunity.org/take-action/ and in Spanish athttp://generationopportunity.org/espanol/.

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

Millennials Reject Washington Leadership and Failed Economic Policies: 

  • 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.
  • 69% prefer reducing federal spending over raising taxes on individuals in order to balance the federal budget.
  • 59% of overall Millennials agree the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.
  • 70% would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal.

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.


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.

Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18-29. The organization’s social media platforms – “Being American by GO” on Facebook and “The Constitution by GO” on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 2.4 million. Both pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal General Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.

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

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