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Rock the Vote is the largest non-profit and non-partisan organization in the United States driving the youth vote to the polls. Fusing pop culture, politics, and technology, Rock the Vote works to mobilize the millennial voting bloc and the youth vote, protect voting rights, and advocate for an electoral process and voting system that works for the 21st century electorate.

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THE LIMELIGHT

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Bipartisan Discussion on Millennial Americans Highlights Economic Challenges Facing Millennial Generation, Opportunities to Engage Young People in Government

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From L to R: Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal; Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23); Ashley Spillane, Rock the Vote; Allen Blue, LinkedIn; Dr. Beth Ann Bovino, S&P Ratings; Rep. Patrick Murphy (FL-18). Photo Credit: Tony Powell for Rock the Vote.

Washington, DC – This morning Rock the Vote, LinkedIn, and the McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute hosted the inaugural Millennial Economic Forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The event featured panelists including Rock the Vote President Ashley Spillane, LinkedIn Co-Founder Allen Blue, Rep. Patrick Murphy (FL-18), Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23), and Dr. Beth Ann Bovino, Chief U.S. Economists, S&P Ratings, moderated by Wall Street Journal economic correspondent Nick Timiraos, for a wide ranging discussion about the economic challenges facing the Millennial generation and opportunities to engage young people in the political process specifically around these critical issues.

The discussion was centered around a new Standard & Poor’s report from Dr. Bovino on Millennials and the U.S. economy that outlines how the student loan debt Millennials are graduating with, which is the largest amount of debt in American history, is having a disproportionate impact on the economy as a whole – including the housing market, credit access, and the American workforce.

“This morning’s panel provided a great opportunity to discuss the challenges facing our generation and the potential we have as the largest generation in American history to be the most influential bloc in the country – forcing politicians to pay attention to the issues that Millennials are dealing with,” said Rock the Vote President Ashley Spillane. “We need more elected officials and candidates talking about our issues and demonstrating the value of civic engagement to our generation. Only then will Millennials truly tap into our potential to shape the country’s future.”

“I want to thank our participants, Allen Blue from LinkedIn, Reps. Patrick Murphy (FL-18) and Will Hurd (TX-23), and Dr. Beth Ann Bovino of S&P Ratings, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for making this such a successful event. We hope to do similar events across the country, engaging more leaders to think about the challenges Millennials are grappling with,” added Spillane.

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Photo Credit: Tony Powell for Rock the Vote.

Currently, Millennials spend around $600 billion annually with that amount potentially increasing to $1.4 trillion a year by 2020, and the Millennial generation recently became the largest share of the American workforce at an estimated 53.5 million.  As a whole, the generation is the largest in the country at nearly 93 million in population, according to census estimates.

In part, Dr. Bovino’s report indicates that massive student loan debt, coupled with ongoing wage stagnation, could cost the American economy $244 billion over the next five years. Dr. Bovino’s report also noted additional economic challenges facing Millennials, including the fact that only 55% are saving for retirement because they’re already carrying significant debt. Her report full report can be read here.

Throughout the conversation, panelists also discussed the need to speak with young people with an authentic voice in order to effectively capture their attention.  Congressman Patrick Murphy also highlighted the need for Washington to produce results in order to build trust with Millennial Americans.

“I believe that if we are really going to get Millennials more involved, we going to have to prove to them that we can deliver,” said Murphy.

Congressman Will Hurd discussed the need for his colleagues in Congress to engage in a sustained conversation with Millennial Americans beginning immediately. Already, Hurd says, Congress is seeing the opportunity and the need to advance this dialogue.

“I think people realize there’s an opportunity with this large group of people that have not been as engaged,” said Hurd. “We’re not where we need to be, of course, but I think people recognize we need to move forward,” said Hurd.  

Photo Credit: Tony Powell for Rock the Vote.

LinkedIn’s Allen Blue highlighted the economic demand for a skilled workforce to meet the needs of employers in today’s economy, a point that emphasizes the need for ongoing investments in higher education despite the financial challenges that may currently exist for certain Millennials. “The skills gap is a real thing actually exists,” said Blue.

Rock the Vote plans to announce additional forums and conversations in the near future. 


Rock the Vote, LinkedIn and McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute Host First Millennial Economic Forum at US Chamber of Commerce 05/20/15
Bipartisan Discussion on Millennial Americans Highlights Economic Challenges Facing Millennial Generation, Opportunities to Engage Young People in Government From L to R: Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal; Rep. Will...

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