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“Where’s the consensus?” Report

Community Forums Network Round 1:“Where’s the consensus?” ReportSummary of survey findings on young adult employmentDownload the PDFSummary by Executive Director: Carrie Shaw
Analysis by: Suzanne Pak
Technology Management: John Spady
Project Management: Fawn Spady
Design: Sigurd Gustafsson

Date: July 19, 2012
Table of ContentsIt is a generation being defined by what it doesn’t have – life’s first time or entry-level jobSurvey HighlightsWhere’s the consensus?CFN Partner Organizations3. Community service and skill building programs offered by youth development organizations provide the opportunity for young adults and youth to gain critical skills. Where should the funds come from?6. The focus needs to be on improving the economy and creating jobs in general. When overall unemployment drops, young adults will find more job opportunities that are now being filled by older adults7. In general, do you support the idea of a special training wage for young adults (ages 16-19) during the first 3-12 months of their employment, as a way to encourage more employers to hire inexperienced young adults?8. Do you believe business involvement in the government’s current “workforce training” system is critical to training the skilled employees necessary to increasing economic growth and job opportunities?9. In your view, what is the best approach to delivering workforce skills? Please choose your ONE best answer10. What do you think is the single best approach to increase employment among young adults (age 16 -24)? Please choose your one best answerWhat is a PC Rating™?Disclaimer Clause It is a generation being defined by what it doesn’t have – life’s first time or entry-level job.

The Seattle Times in a recent series called them the “Recession Generation;” young adults and teens facing unprecedented levels of unemployment and a highly competitive job market, including 1 in 2 recent college graduates either unemployed or underemployed.

Washington State currently has the nation’s 9th lowest young adult employment rate, ages 16 to 24, with 43% of young adults employed according to the U.S. Labor Dept. Given the depth and timeliness of the young adult jobs crisis, Community Forums Network (CFN) decided to launch their first statewide “round” of in-person forums and an online survey on the topic of “How to improve young adult employment.

From May 3 through June 17, 2012, over 2,300 people shared their opinions on the urgent need to address the root causes of, and potential long-term solutions for the Recession Generation. Whether it was a gathering of business owners, DECA high school students, or homeless women in a local shelter, consensus emerged on the need to tackle the issue of young adult employment from many angles with government, private sector, community and education-based solutions.

Survey Highlights

Of the 10 survey questions asked of citizens, key areas of agreement emerged:

  • A public-private approach. When asked where the funding should come from, 68% of respondents selected “both the private and public sectors” need to fund opportunities for youth and young adults to gain critical skills.
  • A strong economy creates jobs for everyone. A combined 79% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement; “The focus needs to be on improving the economy and creating jobs in general. When overall unemployment drops, young adults will find more job opportunities that are now being filled by older adults.”
  • Retool public education to meet workforce training needs. Respondents favored school-based programs such as a vocational track, internships, apprenticeships, and entrepreneurship training. A majority of African-Americans selected “school-based training,” and at a higher rate than any other ethnic group.
  • A training wage with limits. 69% of respondents supported the idea of a training wage when it had a time limit. The idea of a training wage was ranked lower as a cost-effective idea when it was listed along with other ideas that included creating financial incentives for businesses to hire young people and expanding summer youth employment programs.
  • Businesses need to be a part of the equation. 69% support the idea of businesses being involved in the government’s current “workforce training” system. This idea was supported across age, ethnicity demographics and whether or not a respondent had hired a young adult.

Where’s the consensus?

This “Where’s the consensus?” Report highlights those areas where agreement emerged and provides more details on the demographic breakdown of survey responses. A more detailed analysis of the full report including respondents’ comments, and the polarization/consensus rating methodology can be accessed at:

www.CommunityForumsNetwork.org under “Topic Reports”

As a statewide public engagement platform, CFN’s mission is to bring people together to talk about issues, to share their ideas, and to discover where we agree on possible solutions.

CFN is not an advocacy organization and does not make policy recommendations. It is our hope and goal that insights gathered from Washington citizens are useful to policy decision-makers in creating a more solutions-based approach to the challenges we face in our communities.

Carrie Shaw
Executive Director
Summary
John Spady
Technical Advisor
Polarization/Consensus rating methodology
Suzanne Pak
Community Outreach Manager
Survey analysis and Full Report
Fawn Spady
Project Manager
Sigurd Gustafsson
Design
CFN Partner Organizations

At the heart of CFN’s mission to discover consensus on issues, is a statewide network of diverse, nonprofit organizations representing education, social services, youth development, business, workforce, and community service areas and interests. CFN currently has 25 Partner organizations that participate during a topic round by hosting forums and promoting the online survey to their members and supporters.

Round 1 Partner Organizations

  • Alliance of People with disAbilities
  • Association of WA Businesses
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of King County/YouthForce
  • Chinese Information & Service Center
  • City Club Seattle
  • Come Clean
  • Compass Housing Alliance
  • Council on American Islamic Relations
  • El Centro de la Raza
  • Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce
  • Issaquah Chamber of Commerce
  • Issaquah History Museums
  • Mary’s Place
  • Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce
  • Omak Chamber of Commerce
  • Renton Technical College
  • Solid Ground
  • Union Gospel Mission
  • Treehouse for Kids
  • TVW
  • Valley Cities Counseling & Consultation
  • WA Business Week
  • WA Federation of Independent Schools
  • WA Policy Center
  • WA Restaurant Association Education Foundation
  • Woodland Park Zoo


Media Partner: PugetSoundOff.org

CFN Partner Grant Program

Nonprofit organizations can earn grants up to a total of $4,000 for 2012. Partners earn points based on the number of survey responses that they generate during a topic round. Of the 2,328 survey responses generated, 809 were from forums and 1,519 were online surveys. Top grant recipients for Round 1 included:

  • Silver Grant ($1,500): Compass Housing Alliance, Council on American Islamic Relations, and Washington Policy Center
  • Bronze Grant ($1,000): Woodland Park Zoo
  • Dick Spady Legacy Grant ($1,000): Union Gospel Mission
  • $500 Grant: Boys & Girls Clubs of King County/YouthForce
  • $300 Grant: Association of WA Business, Mary’s Place, WA Business Week
  • $100 Grant: Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce, Treehouse for Kids, Valley Cities Counseling & Consultation, WA Restaurant Association

“As an organization dedicated to defending civil rights, empowering American Muslims and promoting mutual understanding, we are proud to partner with CFN in a project that aims to find solutions to issues facing an increasing number of our community members.”“We are also grateful to CFN for the grant which will help us carry out our important community service programs.”~ Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director, CAIR-WA

Funds for the CFN partner grants are provided by the Spady Family of Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

Survey Questions3. Community service and skill building programs offered by youth development organizations provide the opportunity for young adults and youth to gain critical skills. Where should the funds come from?

  • This question had a high degree of Consensus, with 68% selecting ” Both the private and public sectors.” High degree of polarization is generally assumed with any funding question, so it is encouraging to see that most respondents want to see greater degree of partnership and shared responsibility between government and private sector.
  • 16-24 year olds (22%) and Asian Americans (18%) are more likely to support government funding of youth organizations, compared to 55+ year olds (5%) and Caucasians (7%). Conversely, 55+ year olds (21%) and Caucasians (17%) are more likely to support private sector funding, than 16-24 year olds (13%) and Asian Americans (11%). (Appendix 3)

6. The focus needs to be on improving the economy and creating jobs in general. When overall unemployment drops, young adults will find more job opportunities that are now being filled by older adults.

  • This question had a high degree of Consensus, with a combined 69% of respondents Agreeing or Strongly Agreeing. This is consistent with comments we saw from the surveys and heard from the forums, where older adults also expressed concern for availability of jobs for older adults.
  • Interestingly, 16-24 year olds were less likely to Agree (54%) than 55+ year olds (74%). This may reflect the concern of young adults that there exists systemically higher unemployment for young adults, and that employment levels for their age group may not bounce back right away with improvement in the economy. (Appendix 6)

7. In general, do you support the idea of a special training wage for young adults (ages 16-19) during the first 3-12 months of their employment, as a way to encourage more employers to hire inexperienced young adults?

  • This question had a high degree of Consensus, with a 69% of respondents saying Yes. This is interesting, given the high degree of polarization generally assumed by the media and elected officials on this topic.
  • 25-34 year olds are more likely to oppose the training wage (27%) than 55+ year olds (19%). (Appendix 7)
  • Hispanic Americans are more likely to oppose the training wage (28%) than African-Americans (12%). (Appendix 7)

8. Do you believe business involvement in the government’s current “workforce training” system is critical to training the skilled employees necessary to increasing economic growth and job opportunities?

  • This question had a high degree of Consensus, with a 69% of respondents saying Yes. Surprisingly, this question also has a portion of Abstain’s (13%), equal to that of more complex rank ordering questions #1 and #5.
  • There wasn’t much polarization of answers across Age Groups, Ethnicity, or Hired Young Adults vs. Not.

9. In your view, what is the best approach to delivering workforce skills? Please choose your ONE best answer.

  • The number one response (36%) was “Offer vocational track in high schools again.” This is echoed by what we heard from the forums, where young adults expressed desire to learn a trade (e.g. construction, manufacturing, auto repair, becoming an electrician, or \becoming a chef) and found it hard to gain these skills in high school. Business owners also expressed desire to hire young adults in these fields, but unable to take the time to teach everything from scratch.
  • Number two response (29%) is “Provide incentives for businesses to take the lead in providing workforce training.” This is consistent with comments we’ve seen in surveys, with suggestions to provide tax breaks to those who hire young adults or entry level workers and provide on-the-job training.
  • Interestingly, 16-24 year olds were more likely to select “Expand existing workforce training/ worksource programs” (31%), in contrast to the other age groups. (Appendix 9)

10. What do you think is the single best approach to increase employment among young adults (age 16 -24)? Please choose your one best answer.

  • The number one response (41%) was “School-based training and youth development programs: Increase state funding for vocational and technical curriculum, high school internships, apprenticeships and entrepreneurship training.” This is consistent with the leading solution provided on Question 9 (” Offer vocational track in high schools again”). It points to a recognition by respondents that in addition to business incentives and the economy, there also exists a workforce readiness/ skills gap that is not currently being addressed in schools.
  • 25-34 year olds were more likely select “School-based training and youth development programs” as top choice (47%), compared to 45-54 year olds (36%). Conversely, 45-54 year olds were more likely to select “New legislation: Allow for a training wage, reform industry regulations, revise the Business and Occupation tax structure” as top choice (23%). compared to 25-34 year olds (11%).
  • Majority of African-Americans selected “School-based training and youth development programs” as top choice (52%), higher than any answer selected on this question by any other ethnic group.

Key Comments for Question 10:

  • At Moses Lake High School in our Career and Technical Education Department we have real business connected to the classes. They not only create a business learning environment, but the students get job experience without being employed. We treat our classes like a business. We have the only operating Cafe in the Nation for our culinary students. We build boats in Manufacturing Technology and sell to the public, and have a latte stand that makes $40,000 a year as well as our own floral shop, catering class, and video production studio. All of our students leave with real job skills for the world of work. All schools could do this.

What is a PC Rating™?

The PC RatingTM, or “Polarization/Consensus RatingTM is a tool to measure the “weight” or value of the total responses to a question on a scale from 0 to 100.

A Polarization Rating (weight given a question) of 100% means that everyone participating answered “yes” or “no” and nobody selected “abstain” or “object.” A Polarization Rating of 50% means that half of those participating answered “yes” or “no” and half selected either “abstain” or “object.”

  • A 100% Consensus Rating means “all responses favor the positive side of the scale.
  • A 0% Consensus Rating means “all responses favor the negative side of the scale.”
  • A 50% consensus rating means “there is no consensus.”

Think of it as an image of a seesaw and grouping of people to one side or the other. The PC Rating is useful in comparing responses to a series of questions, to compare the response of different groups to the same question, or of the same group to different but related questions.

As introduction to the methodology, we have provided two samples using the geographical breakdown on Questions 6 and 7. For more information and details on the following data, go to www.CommunityForumsNetwork.org and click on “Topic Reports”

  • Additional breakouts of survey data
  • Polarization/Consensus Ratings
  • Comments from survey participants

CFN Observation on Question 6: A plurality of 43% participants agree (and over 2/3 majority of participants agree or strongly agree) with this statement. This remains consistent regardless of geography — by and large, eastern and western Washington participants hold similar opinions.

PC Rating Question 6: 95% had 86 Consensus
6) How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement, “The focus needs to be on improving the economy and creating jobs in general. When overall unemployment drops, young adults will find more job opportunities that are now being filled by older adults.”

CFN Observation on Question 7: A 2/3 majority of participants support the idea of a special training wage for young adults. This remains consistent regardless of geography and even stronger support is indicated among participants outside of Seattle proper.

PC Rating Question 7: 92% had 75 Consensus
7) In general, do you support the idea of a special training wage for young adults (ages 16-19) during the first 3-12 months of their employment, as a way to encourage more employers to hire inexperienced young adults?
Disclaimer ClauseDownload the PDF

The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the individuals who participated and do not necessarily represent the views of Community Forums Network or the participating partner organizations.

These results may not be representative of the entire state of Washington, and are the compilation of those individuals who, through their participation, expressed their interest and opinions about the topic at a specific point in time. As humans we all have the ability to receive new information, consider it, and change our views.

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CFN Intern visits the Millionair Club

My name is Eric Park. I am from South Korea and currently a student attending Bellevue College with studies in communications. As the summer intern for Community Forums Network (CFN), I am working as a Government Affairs/Community Outreach Coordinator. In this role, I help facilitate forums on the issue of young adult employment and am helping to build the internal infrastructure for the organization’s college and government outreach effort.

On July, 17 2012, I had a chance to visit a charity group called the Millionair Club with Suzanne Pak who is the Community Outreach Manager for CFN. It was a great experience to explore how private social services work in the United States. Private charities providing social services is a new concept to me, so I’d like to share my new experiences while I was at the Millionair Club.

To give a little introduction about the Millionair Club, they are a social service center that provides homeless people with shelter, food, activities, security, job opportunities, and employment services. Their mission is to change individual lives by providing jobs and support services. They have been doing this work since 1921. The U.S. has many homeless shelters compared to South Korea. Jacki Lorenz, who is the Major Gift Officer, and Greg Whitney, Sr. Director of Development/Business Relations, gave us a tour and explained how the system works at the Millionair Club. They are trying really hard to make a difference in the lives of homeless people. They are reaching out to many hurting people in the community to help them get jobs and to live on their own.

In Korea, there are not a lot of organizations like the Milionair Club that help homeless people. We do not have large gathering places for homeless people to eat or sleep. Korea does not provide for organizations like the Millionair Club because there are not many sponsors or businesses willing to support them. Also, the Korean government does not place much attention on homelessness. It is interesting to me how social services in the U.S. are very well organized and that there are many other organizations and businesses who are willing to help such as Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants. I feel very proud to work as an intern for CFN, and to see how all the nonprofit organizations make a difference in people’s lives.

Eric Park
Eric.cfn@communityforums.org

 

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Announcing CFN Partner Grants for Round 1

It’s the list everyone has been waiting for…the Partner Grant list for Round 1!

This list represents 13 diverse, nonprofit organizations from around the state and a total of  $8,300 in grants. Many thanks to ALL of our Partner organizations for helping us exceed our goal and generating over 2,300 survey responses!

We would also like to thank Dick’s Drive-In for providing gift certificates as consolation prizes and the Spady Family for providing the private funds in support CFN’s grant program. 

A hearty congratulations to our Round 1 Partner Grant winners!

  • Silver Grant ($1,500):  Compass Housing Alliance, Council on American Islamic Relations, and Washington Policy Center
  • Dick Spady Legacy Grant ($1,000):  Union Gospel Mission
  • Bronze Grant ($1,000):  Woodland Park Zoo
  • $500 Grant:  Boys & Girls Clubs of King County/YouthForce
  • $300 Grant:  Association of WA Business, Mary’s Place, WA Business Week
  • $100 Grant:  Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce, Treehouse for Kids, Valley Cities Counseling & Consultation, WA Restaurant Association

“As an organization dedicated to defending civil rights, empowering American Muslims and promoting mutual understanding, we are proud to partner with CFN in a project that aims to find solutions to issues facing an increasing number of our community members.”

“We are also grateful to CFN for the grant which will help us carry out our important community service programs.”

Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director, CAIR-WA

 

“Partnering with Community Forums Network provided Washington Policy Center with an invaluable opportunity to work with various stakeholders to explore the important issue of youth unemployment.  WPC has long expressed concern with our state’s high youth unemployment rate—the information mined from the surveys provides valuable insight into an issue that impacts the businesses and workers in our state and will play an important role our Center for Small Business’ ongoing research efforts on this topic.”

Erin Shannon, Small Business Director, Washington Policy Center

 

“Thank you to Community Forms Network for the opportunity to partner with them in this important civic engagement process.  Many of our young adult employees and clients were able to participate, which we hope was valuable to them, as well as the process overall.  We are excited to see the results of the surveys and forums and look forward to partnering with CFN in the future.”

Lindsey Lund, Compass Housing Communications Coordinator

 


 

 

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Meet our newest Advisory Board member…

I am honored to introduce CFN’s newest Advisory Board member — longtime community leader and public servant Santos Contreras.

When we sat down for lunch at his son Greg’s restaurant, Daman’s Bar and Grill in Redmond, what struck me was not only Santos’ depth of community service, but how enthusiastically he embraced the mission of CFN. Here’s what he had to say…

“I am honored that you invited me to join the CFN Advisory Board! We need more civic-minded people like Dick Spady who put their resources behind such worthwhile organizations. If there is one thing I believe in, it is the need for all of us; individuals, cities and organizations to work together in a more collaborative way to address the many problems our society faces.

The work on young adult unemployment certainly needs focus and I look forward to being part of the important discussion on this subject and other future subjects to come.”

And here is more about Santos’ life and commitment to community values:

Santos Contreras received a degree in business from Seattle University in 1958 where he served as student body Vice President. After college, he served in the U.S. Army as an officer in the Ordinance Corps for two years.

Employed by the Boeing Company in Seattle, his distinguished 38-year career included the positions of Personnel Executive and Compensation Manager, and Union Relations Director in the corporate offices. As Union Relations Director he was responsible for negotiating and administering contracts with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) and the Boeing Pilot’s Union.

He was elected to the Kirkland City Council in 1991 and served on the council for 12 years. While on the council, he served on the Public Safety and the Finance Committees and was elected Deputy Mayor. Santos was also an original member of the Board of Directors of the Cascade Water Alliance.

Very active in the community, Santos was awarded the Community Service Award in 1984 by the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. He chaired the Moss Bay Celebration for four years and co-chaired the Moss Bay 10K fun run for ten years. He currently serves on the Advisory Council for Childhaven in Seattle, the Board of Directors of the Kirkland Performance Center and the Harborview Medical Center  Board of Trustees

A Kirkland citizen for over 36 years, Santos has been married to Sue for 45 years and has two grown sons who both graduated from the University of Washington.

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Wenatchee Learns serves as model for effective citizen engagement

 

By Rufus Woods
Publisher, Wenatchee World

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I’m beginning to believe that citizen engagement in public policy discussions is being rekindled in our communities, and that is very welcome indeed. It gives me hope that the thin democracy being practiced in this country today can be traded for a more vigorous version.

In recent columns, I’ve talked about a broad-based effort in Leavenworth to develop affordable housing and also articulated how hundreds of people from diverse perspectives have helped the Wenatchee School District create a compelling vision for the future.

In both cases, rather than the policy being driven by a few officials cloistered behind closed doors making assumptions that may or may not hold true, the direction was owned by a broader cross-section of the community.

One of the architects of the Wenatchee Learns effort, consultant Ben Field, commented to me recently that he hopes that effort will help revitalize democracy. Now that’s an audacious goal, but I think there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that getting away from business as usual in government and engaging citizens creatively has tremendous potential to change the way that the public thinks about government.

It seems to me that most of us have resigned ourselves to a consumer mentality when it comes to public institutions. We vote and pay our electric bill and taxes to the city and feel like we’re entitled to services. But we can and should take a more active interest in civic affairs. Rather than being just consumer of services, we ought to think like owners — that we have an investment interest in seeing that our institutions work well.

It is often said that people will support what they help to create, and certainly in the case of Leavenworth there is a great sense of ownership in making sure that the community exists for more than just the elite, but for those who work for a living. They are invested in that effort, which gives it tremendous power and vitality.

My sense is that the Wenatchee Learns project will ultimately change the way people in the community feel about education — that the responsibility is not just the school board’s but shared by businesses and community members.

Achieving that will require that the school board and administration take positive steps to make change based on the input the community has provided. Making bold steps cannot happen without community support and by engaging people in helping create the vision, there’s no question that school board members should feel very confident in following through.

The critical point is this. The district has taken a very open approach to gather input without trying to influence the outcome one way or another. It has been an intellectually honest effort without which this effort would have died a quick and ugly death.

With a clear vision developed by engaging the community, it becomes a heck of a lot easier to make significant changes. In the case of Wenatchee Learns, rather than being the school board’s project, it becomes the community’s project.

That’s the way democracy ought to work. In fact, it’s the only way real democracy can work. I hope other public agencies are taking note of these collaborative, community-based approaches.

We can tackle tough issues if the community is engaged effectively.

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Associated Press: Jobless summer for teens begins…

More than 7 in 10 US teens jobless in summer
Once a rite of passage to adulthood, summer jobs for teens are disappearing.

By HOPE YEN
Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON —Once a rite of passage to adulthood, summer jobs for teens are disappearing.Fewer than three in 10 American teenagers now hold jobs such as running cash registers, mowing lawns or busing restaurant tables from June to August. The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16- to 19-year-olds falling to the lowest level since World War II.And teen employment may never return to pre-recession levels, suggests a projection by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.The drop in teen employment, steeper than for other age groups, is partly a cultural shift. More youths are spending summer months in school, at music or learning camps or in other activities geared for college. But the decline is especially troubling for teens for whom college may be out of reach, leaving them increasingly idle and with few options to earn wages and job experience.Older workers, immigrants and debt-laden college graduates are taking away lower-skill work as they struggle to find their own jobs in the weak economy. Upper-income white teens are three times as likely to have summer jobs as poor black teens, sometimes capitalizing on their parents’ social networks for help.

Overall, more than 44 percent of teens who want summer jobs don’t get them or work fewer hours than they prefer.

“It’s really frustrating,” said Colleen Knaggs, describing her fruitless efforts to find work for the past two years. The 18-year-old graduated from high school last week in Flagstaff, Ariz., the state that ranks highest in the share of U.S. teens who are unable to get the summer work they desire, at 58 percent.

Wanting to be better prepared to live on her own and to save for college, Knaggs says she submitted a dozen applications for summer cashier positions. She was turned down for what she believes was her lack of connections and work experience. Instead of working this summer, she’ll now be babysitting her 10-year-old brother, which has been the extent of her work so far, aside from volunteering at concession stands.

“I feel like sometimes they don’t want to go through the training,” said Knaggs, who is now bracing for a heavier debt load when she attends college in the fall.

Economists say teens who aren’t getting jobs are often those who could use them the most. Many are not moving on to more education.

“I have big concerns about this generation of young people,” said Harry Holzer, labor economist and public policy professor at Georgetown University. He said the income gap between rich and poor is exacerbated when lower-income youths who are less likely to enroll in college are unable to get skills and training.

“For young high school graduates or dropouts, their early work experience is more closely tied to their success in the labor market,” he said.

Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, said better job pathways are needed for teens who don’t attend four-year colleges, including paid internships for high school seniors and increased post-secondary training in technical institutes.

“We are truly in a labor market depression for teens,” he said. “More than others, teens are frequently off the radar screens of the nation’s and states’ economic policymakers.”

Washington, D.C., was the jurisdiction most likely to have teens wanting summer work but unable to get it or working fewer hours than desired, with more than three in five in that situation. It was followed by Arizona, California, Washington state, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and Nevada.

On the other end of the scale, Wyoming, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas had teens who were more often able to find work. All those states have fewer immigrant workers.

The figures are based on an analysis of Census Bureau Current Population Survey data from June to August 2011 by Northeastern’s Center for Labor Market Studies. They are supplemented with research from Christopher L. Smith and Daniel Aaronson, two Federal Reserve economists, as well as interviews with Labor Department economists and Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a national job placement firm.

About 5.1 million, or just 29.6 percent, of 16- to 19-year-olds were employed last summer. Adjusted for seasonal factors, the rate dips to 25.7 percent. In 1978, the share reached a peak of nearly 60 percent before waves of immigration brought in new low-skill workers. Teen employment remained generally above 50 percent until 2001, dropping sharply to fresh lows after each of the past two recessions.

Out of more than 3.5 million underutilized teens who languished in the job market last summer, 1.7 million were unemployed, nearly 700,000 worked fewer hours than desired and 1.1 million wanted jobs but had given up looking. That 3.5 million represented a teen underutilization rate of 44 percent, up from roughly 25 percent in 2000.

By race and income, blacks, Hispanics and teens in lower-income families were least likely to be employed in summer jobs. The figure was 14 percent for African-American teens when their family income was less than $40,000 a year, compared to 44 percent of white teens with family income of $100,000-$150,000. Hispanics in families making less than $40,000 also faced difficulties (19 percent employed), while middle-class black teens with family income of $75,000-$100,000 did moderately better, at 28 percent employed.

Based on teen employment from January to April this year, also at historic lows, the share of teens working in jobs this summer is expected to show little if any improvement.

“We’re seeing a cultural change. Parents used to tell their kids, go to the retail store or gas station and find a job in the summer, but it’s not happening as much anymore,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. He urges teens who desire jobs to find them by asking parents’ friends and meeting hiring managers face to face, rather than simply e-mailing or dropping off resumes.

“The question is where teen employment has bottomed out. Have we reached that limit? I don’t know,” he said.

According to government projections, the teens entering the U.S. labor force are expected to decline another 8 percentage points by 2020. By that time, young adults ages 16 to 24 will make up 11 percent of the labor force. While increased schooling is a factor, much of the recent employment decline is due to increased competition from other age groups for entry-level jobs that teens normally would fill.

Smith, the Fed economist, attributes at least half of declining teen employment since the mid-1980s to youths who are being crowded out of the job market by older workers and immigrants, pointing to recent technological changes that have thinned the ranks of midlevel jobs such as bank teller and sales representative.

His working paper for the Federal Reserve points to “potentially troubling long-term consequences” to the extent that jobless teens are not utilizing their time to go to summer school or do other college-preparatory work. His analysis of government data found that jobless teens across all income groups were often spending the extra time watching TV, playing video games and sleeping rather than on educational activities.

Nicole Shaw, 18, of Baton Rouge, La., is working to make sure she isn’t a victim of the jobs pinch. She was hired as a restaurant waitress after a family friend tipped her off about an opening earlier in the year. In a state where teen employment is 10th worst in the nation, Shaw has become the youngest employee in her workplace by several decades while her friends continue to struggle to find summer work.

Still, she gets paid just $2 an hour plus tips, making it hard to accumulate real savings.

“I’m mostly just trying to help out my family and save for college,” Shaw said, expressing hope that she will be able to build on the work experience for the future. “Even though you can be the best waitress you can be, the tips, they tip you whatever. I love my job, it’s just the pay.”

Associated Press writers Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Ariz., and Sheila Kumar in Baton Rouge, La., contributed to this report.


Online:

State-by-state data from analysis by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies:

http://apne.ws/LXDtcp

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CFN Round 1: Final survey counts and Partner Grants

You did it! Thanks to your hard work, we exceeded our goal and reached over 2,300 survey responses! Here are the final, certified results that include $8,300 in grants and some Dick’s Drive-In gift certificates as consolation prizes. We are already gearing up for Round 2 in September and plan to offer more opportunities for partner grants this fall.

A hearty congratulations to our Round 1 Partner Grant winners!

Silver Grant ($1,500):  Compass Housing Alliance, Council of American Islamic Relations, and Washington Policy Center.

Dick Spady Legacy Grant ($1,000):  Union Gospel Mission

Bronze Grant ($1,000):  Woodland Park Zoo

$500 Grant:  Boys & Girls Club of King County/YouthForce

$300 Grant:  Association of WA Business, Mary’s Place, WA Business Week

$100 Grant:  Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce, Treehouse for Kids, Valley Cities Counseling & Consultation, WA Restaurant Association


 

 

 

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Partner survey response and grant status as of June 11

Only 5 days left before the end of Round 1 on “How To Improve Young Adult Employment.” Our partners are doing an incredible job and we have reached 1,635 responses as of June 11th!  There is still time to help our partners earn a grant by filling out the survey before June 17th and selecting your favorite partner:  http://www.communityforumsnetwork.org/take-survey/

$2,000 Gold Grant Recipient: Council on American Islamic Relations of Washington was the first organization to earn 300 survey responses.

$1,500 Silver & $1,000 Bronze Grants:  Woodlank Park Zoo, Washington Policy Center, and Compass Housing Alliance are all vying to earn one of these grants.

$500 & $300 Grants:  Mary’s Place, Boys & Girls Club, Union Gospel Mission, Association of WA Business, WA Restaurant Association, Valley Cities Counseling & Consultation, and Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce  are all in a great position to earn one of these grants.

 

 

 

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Seattle Times “Recession Generation” networking event a success

Young professionals get résumé, networking advice

As part of the Recession Generation series, The Seattle Times, in conjunction with NWJobs.com and the Community Forums Network, held a networking event for young professionals Wednesday night.

Seattle Times staff
About event co-sponsor Community Forums Network

The Community Forums Network (CFN) mission is to discover consensus on hot topics of the day and to share those insights with policy decision-makers. Now through June 17, CFN is asking the question, “what can be done to fix the young adult unemployment crisis?” As background, here is the press release for CFN’s Round. CFN helped cater Wednesday night’s event.

About event co-sponsor NWjobs.com

NWjobs.com features local and national job listings andstories that focus on workplace topics such as salaries and benefits and career advice from three bloggers (Natalie Singer, Randy Woods and Matt Youngquist). Each writes one post per week within their topics of expertise. The site also features an Events Calendar with listings for job fairs, workshops and networking opportunities.

THE RECESSION GENERATION

In “The Recession Generation,” The Seattle Times explores the experiences of young people who entered the job market during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

To tell the story, we conducted an informal, online survey of students who graduated in 2005 from three Puget Sound-area high schools where the economic and racial diversity is similar to state averages: Hazen in Renton, Shorecrest in Shoreline and Sammamish in Bellevue.

We want to hear from you

ILLUSTRATION BY BOO DAVIS / THE SEATTLE TIMES

This project is intended to be the start of an ongoing conversation. Submit your own storyupload a video.

Financial advice for young grads

How do you feel about today’s job market?

Join the discussion: What one word best describes how you feel about today’s job market?

MOST POPULAR COMMENTS

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This was a great article, but having been unemployed in my life, and then going back to… (June 7, 2012, by Hales) MORE
People don’t need more “advice”. They need more JOBS, period. Doesn’t… (June 8, 2012, by Supersonicer) MORE
 “Build your network before you need it.”

“If you don’t have a lot of work experience, list your professional associations on your résumé.”

Those tips and many more were offered by professional career counselors at a networking event for young professionals Wednesday night. The event, a part of the Seattle Times’Recession Generation series, was held in conjunction with NWJobs.com and the Community Forums Network.

Job-finding experts gave some general advice and then led small-group sessions aimed at improving résumé, setting career goals and succeeding at networking.

Bill Gregory, a career officer at Bastyr University, gave a presentation entitled “Expanding Opportunities by Talking about Your Unique Competencies.” Gregory also does career counseling through www.workfinding.com, which broadens the ways in which job and career searches market themselves and overcome obstacles.

Sonja Price, career coach for Dynamo Careers, provided networking tips as well as résumé critiques.

When making contact at a networking event, Price suggested asking “What are you passionate about?” instead of “What do you do?” Don’t deliver a business card to everyone in the room, she said. Instead, choose a handful of people to make real connections with. “Be authentic,” she said.

Attendees also had the opportunity to meet with multilingual HR specialist Seia Milin, who, while working at Microsoft and Fluke Corporation, recruited undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students from top colleges. Milin provided résumé critiques.

Event co-sponsor Community Forums Network used the opportunity to raise awareness about its current project: “How do we fix young adult unemployment?” Carrie Shaw, the group’s executive director, said some 1,500 survey responses have been received, and that they plan to release a consensus report by the end of July.

Among the preliminary findings, Shaw said, is that older, skilled workers are competing for entry-level jobs, making it touch for young workers to get started.