By Andy Szekeres - Director of Development of YouthBiz and Recovering Political Fundraiser.
After what felt like a life time (10 years) in the political arena, I can vouch for America's frustration with political parties, bickering and the never ending battle of the sound bite. We face a real crisis in this country where unemployment remains high and finding a job out of high school or college is daunting and exhausting. Regardless of your party affiliation, if you think the government creates jobs or not we can all agree that that there is an urgent crisis especially for the youth who are becoming of age. The lack of action and gridlock is causing the decline of the leading nation in the world.
By way of chance I crossed paths with YouthBiz and was immediately intrigued by the mission of helping youth in the Denver Metro area create their own future using Entrepreneurship as a vessel of action. Regardless if they are launching their own small business or taking the skills of Entrepreneurship and applying those life skills on another career path, the YouthBiz model is unique and effective. They provide a model of programming where youth can earn a performance based stipend so they do not have to work in a low skill / low pay job while getting crucial education and life skills.
America's history is Entrepreneurial to the core, from the expansion from coast to coast; domination of numerous industries and its foundation of allowing the people to create, innovate and manifest destiny their own paths in lives is what makes America great and quite frankly the power house it is. We have an inherent Entrepreneurial mindset to thank for that, but I wonder how many more billion dollar ideas could be fostered if Entrepreneurship was a career track in schools like automotive repair, graphic design or shop class? What if we took our youth and fostered their ideas, provided them mentorship and access to capital in an environment that got them through a sales cycle and supported a business launch around their passions? How would that young entrepreneur stand out in a pitch for scholarship dollars, a loan for a business or an interview?
I urge you to look for ways that we can support Entrepreneurial programs and weave them into our educational framework as a career path in and after schools Not only through government programming, but by directing more corporate and foundation funding as a way of community investment to change the landscape around them. That is an idea that makes sense no matter what political party you follow... support programs that can create jobs, infuse a new tax base into local communities and who knows... maybe create the next Microsoft or General Electric. Supporting programming like YouthBiz is not only a way to change the lives of the youth that attend the programs, but also their families and the communities they live in.
If the Democrats and Republicans took up the mantle of creating Entrepreneurial programs with the same enthusiasm or urgency of the space race, could you imagine the level of business development America would have? We would have a people-powered and government-supported Entrepreneurial renaissance that would take this country's potential to the moon and back in no time.
I believe that programs like YouthBiz are worth investing in. That's why, even though I knew nothing about it, I left a successful political business to join an organization that is committed to real action and change. I hope you will follow what we are doing and support us in the JobRaising Challenge.