By Meaghan Sullivan | Executive Director
I was catching up with an old friend recently, a long-distance reunion over Zoom and a glass of wine. This friend, several years younger than me, has been killing herself to try to buy a home in the crushing Seattle housing market. She’s 35 and has a successful career. But she also has pretty crippling student loan debt. She can’t figure out why she’s always feeling behind the eight ball financially. Her struggles felt familiar.
They call it the ‘scarring effect’ and it is easy to see its impact. It is well-known, well-documented and pretty indisputable. So what is the scarring effect? It is the lasting financial impact the 2008 Recession had on its youth – on the millennials. An entire generation marked by a recession that happened over a decade ago.
The data is troubling. During the 2008 Recession, younger workers, including teenagers and those in their early twenties, were hit harder than any other age group. Some might think it’s justified, do teens and those who have their whole careers ahead of them really need employment as much as older adults supporting their families? It is a valid question, but the answer is emphatically yes. According to the Center for American Progress, workers who are unemployed as young adults and miss the opportunity to develop skills and gain experience earn lower wages for many, many years. Case in point, even after the nation had fully recovered, millennials earned lower wages and are projected to have lower lifetime earnings than other generations. Despite being more educated than any previous generation, they have a lower net worth, are delaying the purchase of their first home, and have more debt than any other generation in history.
We can do better for our youth.
As we think about the recovery from this economic downturn, and the future of our young people today, we can’t afford to make the same mistake. Today’s young people must be part of our economic rebound. CareerWise can help. You can help. By providing an apprenticeship to a young person we launch them into jobs in high-demand fields. We create an opportunity for paid, work-based training while growing the talent pipeline for our state. We empower our youth to develop the skills they need to build their career and build a strong economic foundation for their future.
It is vital that the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and workers not be left behind in this recovery. If they are, the impact will last for decades. So join us – partner with us and help create apprenticeship opportunities for young people. Together we can make sure this generation doesn’t bear any more scars from the COVID-19 pandemic.