For Lodi Unified School District's high school seniors, most will face the bleakest employment prospects since the Great Depression.
To those who persevered and earned diplomas, I offer my sincere congratulations. You've bought some time to wait for an economic recovery - two years if you pursue an associate's degree, or four years if you attend college.
But for those who dropped out or will not be going further academically, their job prospects are particularly grim. Those young teens are on the brink of living empty, dependent and ultimately fruitless lives that will take them well into adulthood as they move from one meaningless job to another.
Even leaving the San Joaquin Valley for bigger markets like San Francisco or Los Angeles won't help. California's 11.2 percent unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation.
Statistics indicate that if young adults are not gainfully employed between the ages of 18 to 29, they become essentially lost to the working world. If you're 30 and have no job experience, you're unqualified to fill any but the most menial jobs.
By that age, those on the fringe have learned how to access public services and charitable safety nets. In other words, they know how to live without working.
While Americans are concerned about the nation's overall 8 percent unemployment rate, the figures when broken down are even more alarming.
Latest available official unemployment rates for those 18- to 29-year-olds with only a high school diploma who are actively looking for a job but cannot find one are:
- 12.5 percent for foreign-born
- 15.7 percent for native-born Hispanic Americans
- 17.6 percent for native-born Americans (all races)
- 26.1 percent for native-born Black Americans.
If you also count those who want a full-time job but can only find a part-time work, and also those who aren't looking for a job at all any more because of their repeated inability to find one, the statistics are much worse.
The percentage of those who don't have a full-time job include:
- 39.3 percent of foreign-born
- 35.7 percent of native-born Hispanic Americans
- 37.3 percent of native-born Americans (all races)
- 47.1 percent for native-born Black Americans.
Despite the astronomical unemployment level, corporate Beltway lobbyists on the right - most prominent among them the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - are working in tandem with open-borders advocates from the left to fill the few available jobs with non-immigrant visa holders and illegal aliens.
Incredibly, the Obama administration that promised to create or save four million jobs is entertaining the idea of creating a new work permit level of 138,000 each month.
Most who would receive them would go into direct competition with less-educated, under-skilled Americans. If the higher cap on visas is approved, more than 1.5 million workers would come to the U.S. over a one-year period.
And the irony of the National Council of La Raza and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is hard to miss. Both pretend to have the best interests of Hispanics at heart, but are actually acting against them by promoting higher levels of immigration that in turn create a larger labor base. In case you have forgotten the basic law of supply and demand: More workers equal fewer jobs.
When it comes to the federal government's promises to our high school students about their bright futures, the only job our graduates can count on is the proverbial and non-paying snow job.
Joe Guzzardi, who retired from the Lodi Unified School District last year and moved to Pittsburgh, Penn., will miss going to the graduation ceremonies where he watched many of his one-time ESL teaching aides receive their diplomas. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.