Is The American Dream Still Attainable?•
Young people in the U.S. are entering the workforce at a time when good jobs are hard to find and career advancement is a constant struggle. Around 60% of all millennials do not have a college degree. Even young people with college degrees are finding work in entry-level jobs that don’t require a four-year university education.
Overall, according to research by the Economic Policy Institute, the wages for recent college graduates (adjusted for inflation) have fallen 7.7% since 2000. In a recent campaign speech Hillary Clinton explained, “We know people are working harder and longer just to keep their heads above water and to deal with the costs, the everyday costs, the costs of basics like child care and prescription drugs that are too high. College is getting more expensive every day and wages are still too low and inequality is too great. Good jobs in many parts of our country are still too hard to come by.” Yet, even though the hurdles young people face in the U.S. economy have been well documented, there are few policy proposals that offer any easy solutions.
To get a sense of what challenges lie ahead and what policymakers can do to help, I reached out to Monique Rizer, the Executive Director of Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan group that works with 350 partner organizations to promote economic mobility in the U.S. economy.