By Colleen Leahey, reporter
FORTUNE -- Words tumble from Scott Gerber's mouth so passionately that he gasps every few sentences for air. The topic: American entrepreneurship. Launched less than two years ago, the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is the brainchild of the baby-faced 28 year-old and is now the driving force behind the #FixYoungAmerica campaign, which launched Monday on fundraising website IndieGoGo.
"We live in a very partisan society, where unfortunately not much gets above the fray if it's not headline news," says Gerber. "The real issues oftentimes fall by the wayside."
Gerber and his crew think that the importance of entrepreneurship often slips through the cracks. In response, the YEC has launched a campaign with over 40 partner organizations to promote entrepreneurial education, increase access to capital for startups, and encourage entrepreneurship within the Fortune 500 -- all in hopes of addressing youth unemployment. (The campaign tagline: "A solutions-based book and movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work -- for good.")
Indeed, youth unemployment has remained stubbornly high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23% of 16-19 year olds, 13% of 20-24 year olds, and 9% of 25-34 year olds are jobless, as of January 2012. Since 2010, unemployment has decreased across the board. But the jobless rate for younger Americans is still higher than it is for those above the age of 34.
The foundation of YEC's campaign is an ambitiously entitled book called #FixYoungAmerica, the first release under the nonprofit's new publishing imprint YEC (thanks to a partnership with Advantage Media Group). With 33 contributors, the book -- which will be released in May -- covers entrepreneurship from several angles: Babson College President Len Schlesinger provides a blueprint for public and private colleges to build entrepreneurship programs; The Education of Millionaires author Michael Ellsberg discusses entrepreneurship as an alternative to college; Jack Kosakowski explains how his nonprofit Junior Achievement has worked to produce more entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially-minded students. More
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