Millennials invited to share insight into global youth unemployment crisis

The GroundTruth Project and the Global Center for Youth Employment launched 'Youth Voices' with professional storytellers bringing expertise from Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Fusion, GlobalPost and Google News Lab

WASHINGTON — The GroundTruth Project and the Global Center for Youth Employment launched "Youth Voices" — a pioneering digital storytelling initiative that will feature the compelling, multimedia stories of young people grappling with economic challenges. 

The online series is supported by RTI International, Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation as part of an effort to address the global youth unemployment crisis.

Youth Voices invites millennials from around the world to share their experiences with employment and entrepreneurship. Participants can submit text, photo, music and video to the user-generated content platform. From this platform, a panel of judges will select the best 35 entrants and help them develop their submissions for publication with GroundTruth publishers like The Atlantic, ABC News/Fusion, Huffington Post, PRI's The World, and PBS NewsHour. 

"Youth Voices is exciting – to have the opportunity to speak truth to power on behalf of my peers is an amazing opportunity and responsibility," said Nokubonga Gumbi of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in South Africa. "I look forward to submitting content to the site and watching it grow."

The Youth Voices initiative will provide a vehicle for young people to tell their own stories and define their own lives to a global audience, putting youth at the center of the conversation about their own economic challenges and successes, reengineering the international community's response to the jobs crisis.

There are 1.1 billion youth — ages 15-24 — making up 18 percent of the global population. Youth and children together — ages 24 and younger — account for nearly 50 percent of the world's population and represent 41 percent of the world's unemployed people. 

"Amplifying the voices of youth has the power to inform policymakers, compel public action, and redefine global understanding of the 'jobs crisis,' " said Eric Johnson, Ph.D., co-director of the RTI-led Center for Global Youth Employment "Too often, policy and programs intended to support young people are crafted and implemented without youth inputs and perspectives." 

The effort will also form a database for qualitative research on youth and employment. 

The event was launched at RTI International with a panel of expert journalists including: Wesley Lowery, national reporter, Washington Post; Azmat Khan, former investigative reporter, BuzzFeed; Hillary Frey, executive editor, Fusion; and Charles Sennott, founder, The GroundTruth Project and co-founder, GlobalPost. 

The event also featured youth leaders in an interview with Steve Grove, the director of Google's News Lab and employment advocates from Spain, South Africa, Morocco and Mexico.