There are a group of hopeless and uneducated young adults in our nation who are struggling to find even minimum wage jobs.

Working ‘just to get by’ isn’t as possible as it used to be. In fact, for 4 million young adults, a job at all is extremely questionable.

After reading an Op-Ed article — “Out of Sight” — by Bob Herbert in the The New York Times last Tuesday about our nation’s at-risk youth, I found some breathtaking statistics about the lack of job opportunities.

According to Herbert, a disastrous unemployment number was released last Friday, claiming, “The official jobless rate had jumped one-half a percentage point in May to 5.5 percent – the sharpest spike in 22 years.”

The problem is that there is a vast group of young-adults and teenagers, between the ages of 16 to 24 years old, who are not in school and face tough odds in the job market.

According to Herbert, these “youngsters” are trying, but they are losing hope. After searching and searching for a job it is easy to get discouraged.

The summer job market, which has long been an important first step in preparing teenagers for the world of work, is shaping up this year as the weakest in more than half a century, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

My first question is what can we do to open up job opportunities?

And next, are there no second chances for the underprivileged? A basic education is a first step in the right direction, which should be easy for each and every person in our democratic nation.

Everyone has something to offer in this country and it is a shame to see such bright young individuals not given a chance. Job opportunity is just the very first step to making an individual make a difference in this world.

And David Jones, president of the Community Services Society of New York, a Corporate Voices strategic partner, provides some key insight in the context of Herbert’s column.

“These kids are being challenged in ways that my generation was not,” said David Jones, the president of the Community Service Society of New York, which tries to develop ways to connect these young men and women with employment opportunities, or get them back into school.

It is extremely difficult because, for the most part, the jobs are not there and the educational establishment is having a hard enough time teaching the kids who are still in school.

“Schools have not made much of an effort to bring this population back in,” said Mr. Jones. “Once you fall out of the system, you’re basically on no one’s programmatic radar screen.”

By: Amy Simon

Amy is a journalism major at Penn State who is interning this summer with Corporate Voices for Working Families.