By Jim Steinberg Staff Writer
Posted: 04/22/2011 10:09:45 PM PDT

Doubts about financial security, their ability to buy a house or save money for retirement loom high among young people transitioning into adulthood during this recession.

For many, just getting a full-time job – or even a part-time one – seems like a forbidden peak shrouded in Himalayan clouds.

A recently released Associated Press-Viacom poll of Americans ages 18 to 24 found only one third of the 18- to 24-year-olds who aren’t in school said they had full-time jobs and less than a quarter of them work part time, leaving four in 10 unemployed.

About three-fourths worry about having enough money to get by from from week to week and about half are dependent on family members for financial support.

And the financial fretting is not just about themselves.

About 20percent saw a parent laid off during the past year and a half, according to the AP-Viacom study, conducted in partnership with Stanford University.

The telephone survey of 1,104 adults nationwide, conducted Feb.18 through March6, showed young people are more pessimistic about their economic futures than young adults in a similar poll in April 2007, eight months before the Great Recession began.

“Our situation is more difficult than the picture painted in that story,” said Johannes Moenius, an associate professor at the University of Redlands’ Institute for Spacial Economic Analysis.

“If we redid that whole survey in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, certain numbers would be much bleaker. We have had so many terribly burned (financially) people who were driven out of their homes,” he said.

And from a family perspective, because so many in this region have no education beyond high school, there is no role model for young adults to follow in the pursuit of a college degree, Moenius said.

“All of the information for that trajectory has to come from outside the home,” he said.

The survey found that of those who could find work, six out of 10 were doing something just to get by – and not leading to a career.

Moenius said not all expertise is formed in college and that meaningful work as a stepping stone can go a long way to building a successful career.

He felt it was unfortunate more young adults are not able to reinforce their long-term goals with the jobs they are finding.

But Stephanie Houston, superintendent of the Colton- Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program, is more concerned about those not able to land work.

“They are not gaining entry-level experience to build their work maturity to learn how to be an effective employee and learn leadership.

“Not having these experiences to cut their teeth on means it will take longer to move up the corporate ladder later on .”

This will have a ripple effect on the region as it moves out of the recession, she said. Many residents will be left without the skills to navigate within businesses and industries when jobs do open up, she said.

One of the challenges facing young adults seeking work is the intense competition from many experienced workers – many times with a higher level of education – who have been displaced, said Houston and Moenius.

Staci Leak, a counselor at San Andreas High School in Highland, said high school students often need to grab a skill quickly, noting that there are many two-year community college programs or sometimes even shorter certificate programs that can lead to well-paying, stable jobs.

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