Since its creation, the United States have been a refuge for the poor and disenfranchised. But in recent decades, the rags to riches stories of our early history are now few and far between. Gone are the blue-collar manufacturing jobs that made poor men and women into upper-middle class citizens who had plump retirement funds and saved for their children's college tuitions. Add to that the high cost of education and it's made college unattainable for many.
That means poor and middle class young Americans have fewer opportunities to get the best jobs and that means fewer chances at becoming wealthy, powerful and influential. So, how did this happen and why? Historically, people in the Great Lakes region have worked in factories. But many of those jobs disappeared as the economy shifted away from heavy industry. More and more Americans are focused on getting by, not getting rich. And our nation's future is sometimes suffering the consequences.
Beginning October 22nd, Front & Center: American Dream Deferred will look at how the recession has re-shaped the American Dream. We'll focus on young Americans specifically and explore several scenarios:
Single mothers with little education and high child care expenses who are struggling to create better futures for their children.
Immigrants missing opportunities at employment and education because of legal challenges.
Young urban men and women captive in communities where violence and poverty is at every corner and street.
Some facts about economic mobility in America: