The Great Recession of 2008-2010 has rolled through nearly every segment of the workforce, hitting hard among the poor, and creating havoc even in well-to-do suburbs. But one group that has been hit particularly hard and has received little attention is recent college graduates. These young people, who followed the prescribed path to success by the thousands, often incurring thousands of dollars in debt for the promise of career success, have found themselves hitting the wall of the great recession. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, quoted in Don Peck’s recent Atlantic story, job offers to graduating seniors declined 21 percent last year and are expected to decline another 7 percent this year. Some observers have estimated that unemployment among recent college graduates may be as high as 50 percent. Despite some recent improvement in the job market, tens of thousands of new graduates will hit the streets this summer, adding significantly to the competition for too few jobs.

For those who are lucky enough to have familial resources to fall back on, moving back home is the immediate solution, and recent demographic data speaks to this growing trend. But, going home also can lead to disengagement from the job search and the social networking that is so crucial to getting a job in this very tough market. I have heard many stories of fretting parents watching their kids’ “failure to launch”, as they spend their time on-line or watching television. This generation of job-seekers has the advantage of great comfort with on-line networking and job search tools, but they may be less comfortable with accessing and tapping the extensive social networks in their family and community that require persistent, strategic, and often, person-to-person contact.

JVS is reaching out to these recent college graduates to help ease a growing crisis and will hold a young professionals networking event on April 14, 6:30 – 9:00 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge. If you are a recent college grad, you should be there, and if you know someone who should be there, make sure they go.

Jerry Rubin