Editor's Note: Our Time is national non-profit network of millennials looking to advance young Americans' rights and opportunities. Recently, Our Time started a new initiative called the One Million New Jobs Campaign, designed to put young Americans back to work. The initiative has since been endorsed by many high-profile celebrities, including R&B star Usher. I caught up with Matthew Segal, the founder of Our Time, to ask about the new initiative. See our interview below.
Jake Horowitz (JH): Describe Our Time's one million new national service jobs for young Americans initiative. What's it all about?
Matthew Segal (MS): Our Time’s One Million New Jobs Campaign in partnership with ServeNext.org is an attempt to tackle unemployment among young Americans while simultaneously providing our country with much-needed employees in critical areas such as education, housing, disaster relief, nursing, and infrastructure repair.
Our campaign addresses two startling realities: First, we have the lowest levels of youth employment since WWII; and second, over one million applications to AmeriCorps were rejected in 2010 and 2011 alone — despite the massive shortage our country has in nurses, teachers, and public servants. By creating one million new national service jobs, we can skills-train and make a productive investment in our generation, as opposed to spending billions of dollars per year on unemployment costs that do not stimulate the economy.
JH: How did you get so many celebrities to endorse the initiative?
MS: Hustling. You have to calls agents upon agents upon agents … But finally, you break through. The fact of the matter is, once you speak to the celebrities directly, they are deeply concerned about the future for young Americans and want to leverage their voices for more than making a buck.
JH: We're in an important election year, and young people have to decide how to vote for president. What factors do you think every young person should consider before making his/her vote?
MS: Is the candidate: 1) Willing to make difficult, and at times, unpopular decisions that are necessary toward America’s long term achievement? 2) Impervious to special interests whose goals are at odds with the general welfare? And 3) Someone who supports making the democratic process more inclusive and available, as opposed to more restrictive?
JH: If Usher's a part of this movement, I want to be too. How can I get more involved?
MS: Go to www.onemillionnewjobs.org and sign our petition, like OurTime.org on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Tumblr, and share our petition with your friends!
Go to www.onemillionnewjobs.org and fill out our Volunteer Form. We’ll get in contact with you to talk about volunteering with our One Million New Jobs and Voter Registration Campaigns.
Email our petition to your email list-serves.
We look forward to hearing from you!