Friday, June 8, 2012

Got Work?

Kylee Mitchell
Program Officer, Detroit Regional Workforce Fund
United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Graduation season is here! Millions of young people will graduate from high school and college throughout the country during the months of May and June. Those leaving high school and entering college in the fall are hopeful for all of the social, educational and professional opportunities that will come.

My 17-year-old nephew is one of the many high-school graduates thrilled about entering into the prestigious collegiate life. I am hopeful that by the time he graduates college in 2017, the economy and job market will have fully recovered and he will land his dream job!

Unfortunately, college graduates entering the workforce this year may be in for a rude awakening. With a national record unemployment rate of 8.2% reported by, this year's graduates are facing dismal circumstances. Despite these statistics, there is hope!
Our Time, an advocacy organization that raises awareness regarding young voter concerns, are asking presidential candidates to specifically address the issues of the 4.5 Million college graduates this year by supporting the creation of 1 million youth service jobs in demanding sectors that include green, technology, education and healthcare. You can get involved by signing the petition at
Being a college graduate myself, and being afforded the opportunities in co-operative work experiences, internships and a graduate fellowship, this issue is near and dear to my heart. I realize that my career has only soared because of my ability to take coursework and apply it to practical work-place practices.
It is imperative that students know what to expect from a particular industry. Careers have various time and educational commitments beyond college that students should be made aware of sooner rather than later to ensure success.

My days of high school and college are long gone, however, I am an advocate for students gaining professional experience prior to entering the actual workforce. I want every person to be connected to financially sustaining opportunities. Young people who participate in internships during high school and college is a step in the right direction.

The United Way for Southeastern Michigan advocates for a number of issues affecting disadvantaged populations. The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund advocates for a workforce that is thriving, ensuring that those who want to be connected to financially sustaining opportunities are able to do so.