“Working minimum wage is like having no job,” Hammonds said. “All your money is gone anyways.”
22-year old Hammonds, like so many others his age, finds himself at a crossroads in life.
“All my friends my age are going through the same thing. I mean, some get luckier because they find better jobs, but the ones that don’t, they just like me.”
According to a recent study by Opportunity Nation, in Dallas alone, more than 100-thousand young adults, between the ages of 16 and 24, neither have a job nor are they enrolled in school.
“Well, school, it’s the time of the year, can’t get no school right now,” Hammonds explained. “And working, mmm, jobs ain’t given out every day.”
The reality of Hammonds’ situation is an alarming discovery for sociologists like Dr. Sheryl Skaggs.
“We know from research, about geographic isolation of communities, sub-groups within communities, that are very isolated in terms of their ability to develop networks that are important for jobs and also understanding the importance of an education,” Dr. Skaggs said. Skaggs heads the Department of Public Affairs and Sociology at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Dr. Skaggs said community involvement and interest in our youth is imperative in their future success.
“Working adults have a responsibility to be good mentors to these young individuals,” Skaggs said. “Whether we’re doing that when they’re 16, or when they’re 24, we still have that responsibility to help cultivate that because that has very negative consequences for the overall economy for the future.”
As for Hammonds, he’s determined not to allow his current situation dictate his future path.
“I want to be able to travel and see different places,” he said with a hopeful tone.
So, he’s working to get on the right track.
“Each day gets better, not matter what – you have to do something. I mean, you can’t go down, you can always go up.”