UO students join Briefcase Brigade, and ask DeFazio for continued help tackling young adult employment

By Andrew Rogers of Eugene, Oregon. Andrew is a sophomore at the University of Oregon.

These past few months in Washington, as the debate over the debt ceiling raged on, there was a great silence over the real issue on the minds of the American public: Where are the jobs? Nationwide, unemployment remains around 9%, and unemployment among those just out of college has reached a staggering 16.7%.

Young adults all across the nation are stepping up to do something about the problem by joining with the Briefcase Brigades and the United States Student Association. From coast to coast, college students and recent graduates are suiting up and showing up, visiting their elected officials with briefcases and resumes in hand to ask what Washington plans to do about the new workforce’s unemployment epidemic.

Students are urging their elected officials to prioritize and protect funding for programs like AmeriCorps and YouthBuild, which provide jobs for over 100,000 young Americans, and to continue searching for innovative ways to create jobs for college graduates.

Last week, students from the University of Oregon, led by student body vice president Katie Taylor, paid a visit to Congressman Peter DeFazio's Eugene office. They thanked him for his past efforts to tackle the youth unemployment problem and asked for his advice and continued support in getting young people back to work.

At the meeting, students were advised that they had strength in numbers, and to participate in the unemployment conversation as much as possible. It was noted that when more young people register to vote, decision makers become much more concerned with issues such as youth unemployment.

Students said that they found the meeting very productive, but recognized that there was still much more dialogue needed between students and Congress. “When I graduate from college I want to have a job and we shouldn’t let debt deals and cost cutting get in the way of students’ dreams,” said UO student Sophie Luthin.

Learn more about the Briefcase Brigades.

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