Mark Andrew, a former Hennepin County Board Chair and former chair of the Minnesota DFL Party, is the owner of GreenMark, a leading environmental marketing agency. GreenMark, the originator of the Minnesota Twins/Pentair Rain Water Recycle partnership, is currently finalizing the state's largest solar energy installation while delivering sustainable results on behalf of leading brands, nonprofits, public agencies and the public.

Wanted: Young talent for government jobs

Posted by: Mark Andrew Updated: July 1, 2014 - 12:27 PM

For all you recent college grads polishing your resume's, or parents of kids in the job market, I commend to you...the United States government.

That's right, there are public sector jobs coming up and you have some opportunities to find one. That is, if the Republicans don't eliminate them the next time they take control of Congress. 

A quarter of today's Federal workers are going to retire by the end of 2016. You'd think cash-strapped grads and other job seekers would be eyeing public employment like our neighborhood fox eyes the rabbits. 

But the young are not lining up to fill the jobs. 

Part of the reason is demographic. By 2025 Millennials, (1982-2003), will make up as much as 75% of the workforce. Today only about 7% of all public sector employees are 30 years old or younger, compared with over 20% in the 1970's. 

Young people also have a skewed vision of what government jobs bring to the table. It isn't that they disagree with the mission of government--the young are easily the cohort in support of MORE regulation and government involvement in our lives. It is more that they have a harder time connecting to the nature of the work. 

And research suggests Millennials don't think the government has stable jobs (!!) and, like many citizens, have a lack of trust in their elected officials. 

And let's face it. We-The-People have not exactly relished the idea of using tax dollars to recruit workers to make the government bigger. 

Job ready youth are also wary of public sector employment because working age prospects have lived with a lifetime of government bashing and negative, often false, stereotypes about the institution. 

Those are tough odds for a sector of the economy seeking smart, industrious, emerging leaders to step into the public jobs of tomorrow. 

Yes, I agree some government jobs should "go away", as they do not rise to the level of "public service". Those jobs tend to be the ones that require bureaucrats to harass poor people applying for assistance, or enforce a myriad of needless regulations. Those are the highest turnover jobs--ones that exist solely because the system presumes people are trying to filch the system.

Setting aside those soulless jobs where managers are managing managers and line staffers are interviewing applicants they suspect are lying, many government jobs are rewarding and advance the ideals of the partnership between government, business and our citizens. 

The challenge is to make the workers aware of the essential decency in careers dedicated to public service. It can be noble work, whether serving the sick, homeless, elderly, children, disturbed; fixing our roads and making our bridges safe; building our parks and cleaning up the environment; putting away the bad guys or discouraging discrimination; or lending books to teach and entertain. 

Government always gets a bad rap. It's up to the young job seekers of today to transcend the empty stereotypes and seek out the jobs that will make the world a little cleaner, safer, fairer, better. 

By doing so, the young can help to give the public a reason to believe, as they did in the years before polarization, that the partnership between government, business and the public, is alive and well.

And land a good job in the bargain.

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