The problem is clear when you look at facts like these:
- College graduates are burdened by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt and it’s growing worse.
- The cost of college is accelerating three times faster than inflation.
- College graduates can't find jobs; 35% are unemployed or underemployed.
- Start-up activity in the U.S. is at pre-1996 lows, and job creation is dwindling as a result.
- The job opportunities that are open require skills not being taught in schools.
And so on....
From my own personal experience as an employer, I was astounded on a daily basis by the lack of preparation, ambition, focus and work ethic I would encounter with young professionals I interviewed. Resumes submitted with spelling and grammar mistakes, poor interviewing skills, questions about how much vacation time they were entitled to instead of questions regarding the value they could deliver to the organization.
I had young employees who would only do what they were told to do versus coming up with solutions to problems. The statement, "Well, you never told me to do that" would make my head spin. I had other young employees who could not rent a car for business travel because their credit was damaged due to student loan default. Or, if they had not yet defaulted on their student loans, they could barely survive despite receiving a very competitive salary because the loans were so huge, which broke down their ability to focus at work. I would look at these issues, shake my head and ask myself, "How the heck are we going to remain competitive? And what are these kids going to do when they grow up?"
From my conversations with friends and educators, we continue to focus on test scores, academic benchmarking, and a linear and archaic educational system. Our students are bored and frustrated in school and are unable to apply what's being learned to real-world activities that excite and inspire them. The U.S., which had some of the highest graduation rates of any developed country, now ranks 22nd out of 27.
So how do we change this? There are many solutions needed to effectively peel this onion including student loan reform, more cost effective college and university options, a 21st century education system mapped to today's global economy, and more. But while all those activities are being taken care of (or not) by government, how do we help our kids take their destiny into their own hands before it’s too late? I firmly believe one answer is teaching entrepreneurship, business, and money management, starting from an early age.
Here's a quote I love from a Wall Street Journal article (“Teaching Children How to Be Entrepreneurs” by Charlie Wells):
"Some scholars argue that cultivating entrepreneurship in the very young is vital, as children are born imaginative, energetic, and willing to take risks, but lose this entrepreneurial spirit over time. Advocates say such programs make up for gaps left by an educational system that ill prepares students for a tech-centric, rapidly shifting job market."
Our goal at KidBacker and KidBacker Foundation for Entrepreneurship is to be part of the solution. Our mission is to inspire young people to actively engage in entrepreneurship and gain an ownership attitude, and in doing so, gain lifelong skills of creativity, risk taking, financial responsibility, and socially conscious leadership. Our vision is to attract and develop the next generation of talent and business leaders so that they have the mindset and skills to take charge of their person futures and lead sustainable economic growth for the nation.
What do you think? Email me or comment below to share your opinion.