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Millennial Generation Searches For Meaning

The vision of a new generation. What millennials want from work, politics, life.

In this Teach for America Delta Institute released photograph taken July 5, 2013, TFA Curriculum Specialist Miles McCauley and University of Mississippi graduate, center, discusses techniques for making key points clear and engaging with corps members, Marcae Thompson, left, and Katherine Brown, both University of Alabama graduates at Pearman Elementary School, in Cleveland, Miss. (AP)

In this Teach for America Delta Institute released photograph taken July 5, 2013, TFA Curriculum Specialist Miles McCauley and University of Mississippi graduate, center, discusses techniques for making key points clear and engaging with corps members, Marcae Thompson, left, and Katherine Brown, both University of Alabama graduates at Pearman Elementary School, in Cleveland, Miss. (AP)

We’ve got images for generations.  Boomers, who looked to go from hippy days to having it all.  The Greatest Generation, that got its name late, along with its accolades.  Gen X, well, a few gray hairs now.  And then the Millennials.  Born between 1980 and 2000.  Coming up coddled, goes the rap, and then straight into the teeth of a brutal recession.  Of a new century without a clear path for their country.  Or, for many, their careers.  What’s their vision? What do they want from work, politics, life?  This hour On Point:  we’re talking with Millennials about the dreams of Millennials.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Emily Esfahani Smith, managing editor of the monthly arts and criticism publication, The New Criterion. Managing editor of the Hoover Insitutions’ online journal, “Defining Ideas.” Editor-in-chief of Acculturated. (@EmEsfahaniSmith)

Nona Willis Aronowitz, education and poverty reporter for NBCNews.com. (@nona)

D.S. Kinsel, artist and program coordinator at MGR Youth Empowerment in Pittsburgh, PA. (@DSKinsel)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Millennial Searchers — “Today’s young adults born after 1980, known as Generation Y or the millennial generation, are the most educated generation in American history and, like the baby boomers, one of the largest. Yet since the Great Recession of 2008, they have been having a hard time. They are facing one of the worst job markets in decades. They are in debt. Many of them are unemployed. The income gap between old and young Americans is widening. To give you a sense of their lot, when you search “are millennials” in Google, the search options that come up include: ‘are millennials selfish,’ ‘are millennials lazy,’ and ‘are millennials narcissistic.'”

The Atlantic Cities: Where Millennials Can Make It Now — “My generation, the Millennials, are infamously the first Americans who are not necessarily expected to do better than their parents. Having come of age during the Great Recession and now a long-lived weak job market, the assumption is not only that we’ll be less wealthy, but that the traditional markers of adulthood will be delayed. Or never achieved at all. Yet this worry also assumes today’s twentysomethings are aiming for the same things as previous generations: either to make it big in the major cities that have traditionally held the promise of success, or to settle down in the house with the white picket fence in the suburbs.”

National Journal: Millennials Abandon Obama and Obamacare — “According to the poll, 57 percent of millennials disapprove of Obamacare, with 40 percent saying it will worsen their quality of care and a majority believing it will drive up costs. Only 18 percent say Obamacare will improve their care. Among 18-to-29-year-olds currently without health insurance, less than one-third say they’re likely to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges. More than two-thirds of millennials said they heard about the ACA through the media. That’s a bad omen for Obamacare, given the intensive coverage of the law’s botched rollout. Just one of every four young Americans said they discussed the law with a friend or through social media. Harvard’s John Della Volpe, who conducted the poll, said the president has done a poor job explaining the ACA to young Americans.”

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