Why Now?

The Problem

The American Dream that has served as the beacon of hope for generations is at risk.  Study after study confirms that economic mobility – the opportunity for people to chart their own destiny based on hard work, perseverance, and the belief in a brighter future – is dying in America.

  • Today, a child born into a low-income household in nearly a dozen European countries has a better chance of improving their economic situation than one born in the United States. 
  • Today, only 6 percent of children born to parents at the bottom of the income distribution make it to the top.
  • Today, for the first time ever, young adults risk having lower educational attainment rates, on average, than their parents.
  • Today, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.

If this is the status of our country today – and if we do nothing – what will our country look like tomorrow?


The Solution

The American Dream has always meant that there is a ladder of opportunity – one that people can move up throughout their lifetime with hard work, the right education, and a spirit of perseverance.  Unfortunately this ladder is broken.

Opportunity Nation has a plan to rebuild the ladder of opportunity, one critical rung at a time.

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, New York CityOur first Shared Plan of action combines actions that can be taken across every sector of society to reconnect young adults outside of school and the labor force by accelerating career and technical education in America, and improving college access and affordability.  It recognizes that not everyone will pursue a bachelor’s degree right after high school, and therefore multiple pathways are needed to engage today’s young adults that are looking for alternative ways to begin their post-secondary school and ultimately a career.

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City


The Future

It is a core value of our nation that where you start in life on the economic ladder should not determine how high you climb.  Already, more than 250 organizations, 100 thought-leaders and experts, hundreds of students, dozens of elected officials, notable celebrities, and everyday Americans have pledged their support to repairing the broken economic ladder of opportunity through the Opportunity Nation campaign.

Using the strength of this bipartisan, cross-sector movement, Opportunity Nation plans to increase opportunity scores in all 50 states by 10 percent over the next 10 years.


Click here to learn how you can get involved in efforts to save the American Dream.