Young people take action to boost job growth

(CBS News) U.S. unemployment remains stubbornly high. Nationally, the unemployment rate now stands at 8.3 percent, but among young people, it's worse --13.6 percent. Instead of waiting for someone else to help, there is a group of young people taking matters into their own hands.

At the age of 25, Mathew Segal knows first hand the struggles of his generation.

"Many generational experts and sociologists are now saying that our generation will be the first one less better off than our parents," he said.

Segal is the founder of OUR TIME -- an organization more than 300,000 strong -- all under the age of 30.

"We're the largest generation in history -- the millennials," said Segal. "Secondly, we are going to comprise 75 percent of the workforce by the year 2025."

So what are recent college graduates' prospects for jobs? "Roughly you have a 1 in 2 chance of having no job when you graduate," Segal said.

The people at OUR TIME are making job creation their number one issue this election year and they're thinking big. "We've said, 'Let's be bold, ambitious and go for a million,'" said Segal.

Segal proposes expanding the existing public service program Americorps. To demonstrate their muscle, OUR TIME wants to collect one million digital signatures from people like Samantha Greenberg. "I never thought I would have to subsist on granola bars because I couldn't go to the grocery store," she said.

Armed with an Ivy League diploma, Greenberg entered the job market in May 2011, looking for work in public service.

"If I knew that there was an option to give back to society, work in a service job through the government, through an agency, and to also make a living," said Greenberg, "that would have been completely ideal."

Fifteen months after graduating college, Greenberg's still struggling, while Segal is trying to mobilize people like her through the Internet, enlisting stars like Larry David to further the cause.

"I support any effort to create a million new service jobs!" David said.

But it will take far more than the enthusiasm of the Hollywood set to get Congress to fund a program that could cost as much as $18 billion.

"The House of Representatives, our Senate leaders cannot ignore the voices of a million people signing a petition saying we want jobs, and we want to serve our country," said Segal.

So far, OUR TIME has collected more than 125,000 signatures.

  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.