08/22/2011 05:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why It's Time To Stop Telling Young People They're the "Future"

I recently spoke at the White House's Champions for Change event. The following is my speech:

"I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news: We live in uncertain times. Last Monday, the Dow dropped by 634 points--and over the course of the week experienced more volatility than at any other point in the history of our economic system. During the recession, we as a country lost over 8.8 million jobs. A statistic that is particularly concerning for our nation's young people who today are 40% more likely to be unemployed. The very same young people who time and again we have said are "America's future."

But, thankfully, that doesn't tell the whole story. The good news: While there is still much work to be done, on the road to recovery, over 2 million jobs with small businesses leading the way. Young people are starting companies in record numbers--solidifying our place as the most entrepreneurial generation in history. This generation has both the drive and the determination to forever reshape our economic landscape. And it's our moral, financial and patriotic duty to support them in every way that we can.

The tides are already shifting. And with all of our help, we can create tens of thousands of new companies and new jobs all across the country, and foster an eco-system that promotes and supports this vital trend of youth entrepreneurship as a viable career path, and a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment. I am humbled to participate in today's Champions of Change event and grateful to the Obama administration for supporting and hosting us, because it gives me faith that we collectively understand the incredible opportunity before us--that it is time we stop telling our young people that they are "America's future", and instead embrace them as "America's present."

Check out all of the young entrepreneurs that were honored at the White House's Champions of Change event and watch the video of the entire event below.