Serri Graslie

Young and unemployed: The view from a year


Kyra, a 23-year-old from Pennsylvania, looks through a stack of CDs at a local Goodwill. Kyra has been buying and reselling thrift store items on Amazon to make some money while unemployed.

An Associated Press article that’s been making the rounds this week has a lot of people talking about recent college grads struggling in the job market. The most oft-cited statistic from the article is that 53 percent of graduates are without work or otherwise underemployed.

Although it’s not mentioned in the article, young people without college degrees are having an even tougher time. I did a lot of reporting on this for NPR’s national desk during my Kroc Fellowship last year. Among the pieces I finished were two that didn’t make it to air because — unfortunately for me but luckily for them — my interviewees got jobs and the stories lost their arc.

I recently finished mixing one of the unaired profiles on Kyra, a 23-year-old from Pennsylvania that I connected with through a call-out on NPR’s Facebook page. She had been struggling to find work since she graduated from high school. I was especially drawn to Kyra’s story because of her unique way of making some money while unemployed.

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I wasn’t able to include it in the piece, but I consider the clip below to be a great epilogue to her story for a number of reasons.

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Continue reading to find out what Kyra is doing now.

I recently checked in with Kyra and I’m happy to report that she’s doing well. After we met last winter, she got a job at the local animal shelter and has been working there ever since. She also continues to sell thrift store finds on Amazon and although she has to pay taxes on all of it, she’s still selling enough stuff to make a profit.

Her full note is below:

Hey! I’ve been doing pretty well! I actually got a job back at the end of July 2011 as an Administrative Assistant at an animal shelter, and it’s been really great. It’s the first job I’ve ever had where I don’t dread going in the next morning, or when I wake up, haha!

I’m still doing the Amazon stuff, but since we last talked I did get a smartphone that has a barcode scanner on it, so no more penny-disappointments! It really has helped, you find yourself just scanning -anything and everything-, just because it’s there, and you’re there, and because you can. A lot of books that I have gotten are because I figured I was there and I might as well, but I would not have thought they were selling for a decent amount if I didn’t have the scanner to help me out; It is helping me though to get a feel for what is popular on the market, which does cut back on time.

  1. April 25, 2012 - Reply

    Awesome story Serri. Keep up the good work.

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