A 16-year-old girl is arrested for shoplifting. A 17 year boy is arrested for selling drugs at school. Most of us hear statistics like that, and just shake our heads at the poor choices young people today make just to have some fun. But what if it was survival, and not fun? What if they felt they had no other choice? Across the globe, youth unemployment has become an epidemic. As people around the world continue to feel the impact of economic issues, and cling to any job they can get, the youth that would normally fill entry-level positions have fewer and fewer options for employment.

As noted by the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment 2013, there are 1.2 billion youth in the world aged 15 to 24. They comprise 17% of the world’s population and 40% of the world’s unemployed. In 2010, 357.7 million youth were not in education, employment or training (NEET), and the number is increasing.  Jeffrey A. Joerres, chief executive officer of Manpower (MAN), a temporary-services firm with offices in 82 countries and territories, adds, “Youth unemployment will clearly be the epidemic of this next decade unless we get on it right away. You can’t throw in the towel on this.”

While most of us don’t consider youth unemployment to be a major social issue, Peter Coy of Bloomberg Business Week talks about the potential impacts of this global epidemic, saying “But the failure to launch has serious consequences for society—as Egypt’s Mubarak and Tunisia’s overthrown President, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, discovered. So did Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who in 2009 dispatched baton-wielding police against youths protesting his disputed reelection.” Coy goes on to point out that “ for the young jobless, enforced leisure can be agony. Musa Salhi, the Spanish soccer player, says, “I feel bored all the time, especially in the mornings. My parents really need and want me to start working.” In Belfast, Northern Ireland, 19-year-old Declan Mac­guire says he applied for 15 jobs in the past three weeks and heard nothing back. “I would consider emigrating, but I don’t even have the money to do that. It is so demoralizing.”

At TGIM Digital Publishing, we’re doing more than just talking about the youth jobless rate. We’re impacting those numbers by offering students ages 15-19 years old internships. And we challenge other companies to evaluate how they can impact this rising problem by partnering with us. So far, we’ve partnered with Kingdom Boxing & Youth Outreach, and Effective Leaders Kingdom Foundation to offer internships to students in Fort Worth, TX and Little Rock, AR. The experience they get as interns increases their ability to land their first job in a tough market. Through the Internship Program, students make accomplishments they can be proud of while earning money selling books written by their peers attending Writing for the Soul Workshop™.

The more individual companies strive to find creative ways for youth to earn income, the better outlook for our growing youth population. The lack of traditional jobs available for youth stops being a problem when we all work to redefine that traditional job market, and show our support for youth taking positive steps to impact their future. Want to know how you can partner with us? Use the Contact Form below to get involved today.

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