by Tovia Smith
The job market is still bleak for young people with only high school diplomas. Nearly half of high school graduates are still looking for full-time work, according to a new report by Rutgers University’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.
The national survey interviewed 544 recent high school grads from 2006 to 2011 who are not in college. Researchers say their hardship may have long-term emotional and financial consequences.
Valerie Peterson, 23, lowered her expectations a long time ago. Unable to afford college and trying to find work with just a high school diploma during the recession in Columbus, Ohio, she had no choice.
But she still has trouble getting her head around the reality of working the overnight shift at a gas station, earning an extra 50 cents over minimum wage — better than some of her old jobs at RadioShack and Wendy’s, but still a long stretch from her dream to start and run a business.