NJBIA's Public Policy Forum: The Road to Recovery REGISTER

Are America’s youth financially literate enough to solve the country’s economic and jobs problems? The 2016 Gallup-HOPE Index says they are not.

The index is a joint venture between the pollster and Operation HOPE. Since 2011, it has tracked middle and high school students’ attitudes toward free enterprise and their opportunities to get real-world experience.

According to the findings, only 53 percent of students said their school teaches them about money and banking, and only 43 percent said their school offers classes in how to start and run a business. These results are mostly unchanged since 2011.

“Regardless of students’ career goals, they should receive the resources and development to equip them for life outside of school,” the report states. “Every student would benefit from more programs related to financial literacy or work-based learning opportunities in schools. America’s future depends more than ever on the success of the country’s youth, and we need all students to realize their full potential.”

On the positive side, about four in 10 students say they plan to start a business and/or invent something that will change the world. The problem is, less than 5 percent of these students are participating in internships at companies or organizations.

According to Jim Clifton, Gallup’s chairman and CEO, and John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE: “Given the current state of the nation and outlook for the future, investing in our aspiring young entrepreneurs is essential to developing the next generation of business builders and community transformers.”

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