• PunkHire directs high school students to a career path.
    With so many choices it can be hard to decide. PunkHire exposes young adults to work experience which will allow them to explore various fields of interest and ultimately help them to discover their career passion at an earlier age.
  • Help us prepare students to pursue the right career path.
    PunkHire's vision is to be a glue for the community and bring together schools, companies, public leaders, and decision makers to ensure the successful education and assimilation of young adults into the workforce.
  • Allow students to test drive an occupation with real work experiences.
    PunkHire will seek partnership and support from several local companies to provide work experience and allow students to test drive an occupation before pursuing a career path while in college.
  • Our mission is to assist, educate and encourage young adults to pursue challenging professions.
    A current dilemma in our society is college graduates not finding job opportunities for various reasons, including lack of experience in their field. Many students also lack knowledge of different career paths.
  • PunkHire believes passion is a major key to success.
    Help students find their career passion and decrease the college dropout rates of students who are unhappy with their major or students that discover late that they have no interested in their chosen career path.
  • Prepare young adults to be competitive in today's tough economy.
    With today's tough economy, PunkHire helps students to be competitive by developed new creative resume and interviewing techniques. By using today's technology PunkHire plans to innovate the way young adults apply for employment.

Executive Summary

Through implementing various creative programs, we aim to teach our youth resume building techniques, expose them to various fields of interest, and create work experience that will ultimately educate and direct them towards a profession they are passionate about.

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Executive Summary

PunkHire is a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose primary objective and purpose is to assist, educate, and encourage young adults to pursue challenging professions by implementing various creative programs equipping them to succeed in their career endeavors. This will expose them to work experience and will allow them to explore various fields of interest, and ultimately help them to discover their career passion.

A current dilemma in our society is college graduates not finding job opportunities for various reasons, including lack of experience in their field. Many students also lack knowledge of different career paths. PunkHire aims to teach these young adults creative resume techniques that will ultimately direct them towards a career path they are passionate about. The organization will first aim their agenda towards high school seniors in the city of Benicia, California and will establish a partnership with the Benicia Unified School District. PunkHire will also partner with Benicia's local businesses and companies, to assist in providing short-term work experience for these students.

To implement this organization, PunkHire's team has achieved 501(c)(3) status and establish the PunkHire website, and currently planning to develope various programs. These programs include the Punks 2 Professionals program or P2P, which is a rotational program that will select a handful of high school senior students to work and rotate through various professional occupations, provided by local companies and businesses. PunkHire also plans to implement a short term summer program and a professional development program. Once local initiation is complete, PunkHire will seek to expand the organization's services to the greater bay area, and ultimately to other cities in California.

The PunkHire team is led by Founder, Danny Zepeda and Co-Founder Jameson Thornton, two electrical engineers who desire to use their knowledge and experience gained at their alma mater. The "Learn by Doing" motto at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo prepares young students to receive employment after college, and will be instrumental in bringing this organization into fruition. PunkHire hopes to receive support from various companies, organizations, and businesses to provide temporary minimum wage employment opportunities for these young adults. PunkHire's ultimate goal of preparing the future workforce can be realized with the financial contributions of our partners.


Problem Statement

Students aren't preparing themselves enough to successfully receive employment after graduation. Poor planning for a career path has resulted in thousands of college graduates either being unemployed or accepting employment that does not require a college degree.

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Problem Statement

Students fresh out of high school, equipped with the idea of being successful and happy, go to college with the goal of simply obtaining a degree. If this were 1970, students with this mindset would be ahead of the curve; but, it's 2013, and young adults need to catch up to the new reality. It is no longer a guarantee that simply going to college will provide a decent, well-paying job upon graduation. Many degrees currently have a weak job market and are unlikely to give a student a fighting chance at a successful career, while other professions are in great need of new graduates. Today's youth needs to be more diligent with their research and not fall prey to the mentality that simply any college degree will give them an equal chance at success. Most importantly, students need to be aggressive and get involved in various leadership roles, extracurricular activities, and attain early work experience to compete with their peers.

In 1970 only 51.8% of high school students enrolled into college, compared to 68.3% in 2011. [1],[2].This is already a significant cause for needing to reevaluate the way a young adult approaches their goals toward success. From 2000 to 2010, enrollment in colleges increased 37 percent, from 15.3 million to 21.0 million. Much of the growth between 2000 and 2010 was in full-time enrollment; the number of full-time students rose 45 percent, while the number of part-time students rose 26 percent [3]. The National Center for Education Statistics predicts a 9 percent rise in enrollments of students under the age of twenty-five. Despite an increase in college and university enrollment however, unemployment rates are still high among young adults. According to Economist Heidi Shierholz report, "The Class of 2012 labor market for young graduates' remains grim," these unemployment trends persist over time due to young workers entering the labor force with little work experience. "In economic recessions as well as expansions, the unemployment rate for young workers (those under age twenty-five) is typically around twice as high as the overall unemployment rate" [4]. According to the report, the unemployment rate for young college graduates jumped from 5.7 percent in 2007 to 10.4 percent in 2010, and has shown little improvement over the last couple of years.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sum reports as many as 50 percent of college graduates under the age of twenty-five are underutilized meaning they are either not working, are working a part-time job, or working a job outside of the college labor market [5]. With scenarios like this it is not surprising to hear that 39 percent of adults between the ages of eighteen to thirty-four are either living with their parents or have moved back in with parents at some point [6]. The percent of students who are working in a position that does not require a college degree is up dramatically from 1970 (11.3%) and 1990 (19.9%) [7]. One obvious explanation is that some college degrees don't have many practical applications in the workforce, and so the student is unlikely to find any job that utilizes what they learned in their studies. If the degree has few applications it may mean very little, and the student may have been just as successful in finding work without the degree.

If students do finish college, and even if they obtain a job that utilizes their college experience, many college graduates are burdened with student loans. The average student loan upon graduation for the class of 2011 is $26,500 [8]. This is a 5 percent increase from the previous year. Many students have much higher student loan debt than this; some as much as $100,000. This debt can take more than a decade to pay off, especially if the graduate does not attain a high-demand or high-paying career. An education is a valuable asset, but since it cannot be returned students are stuck with the debt for life. It's important that they have a clear understanding of the possible outcomes before they are stuck in such a position; especially so they don't end up in a career they dislike, with a mountain of debt.

Many of today's youth are informed that college education is necessary and that it will get them a high-paying job and an affluent lifestyle. While education is very important these claims may lead to unrealistic expectations, and can lead to an entitlement mentality [9]. Not any and every college degree will provide this lifestyle. Students need more information on the reality of various careers so they can make more informed decisions about what they would like to do for a living, rather than relying on what they may see in the media or other unrealistic portrayals. PunkHire wants to encourage a wider variety of careers that youth may genuinely be interested in and can be passionate about. Regardless of the career path a student chooses they must stand out among their peers to stand a better chance at attaining the job they are most interested in. PunkHire helps students find a career passion in which they can fully develop and showcase their talents. In addition to passion, PunkHire's goal is to teach young adults how to be aggressive and competitive by demonstrating specific skills, such as extreme creative resume techniques to simply stand out, professional interviewing skills, and establish initiative, determination and aggressiveness when seeking employment. PunkHire is confident in mentoring and improving the future workforce so employers will be able to recruit more young adults that can surpass employers' expectations.


[1] Bureau of labor statistics, College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2011 High School Graduates: US Dept. of Labor, 2012.

[2] National Center for Education Statistics, Table 187 College enrollment rates of high school graduates: Institute of Education Sciences, 1999.

[3] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2012-001), Chapter 3.

[4] H. Shierholz, N. Sabadish, H. Wething, "The Class of 2012: Labor market for young graduates remains grim," Economic Policy Institute, May 3, 2012.

[5] A. Fairbanks, 2011 College Grads Moving Home, Saddled With Historic Levels Of Student Loan Debt, Huffington Post, 2011.

[6] E. Grinberg, College grads and their families learn to live together, CNN, 2012.

[7] D. Hecker, "Reconciling conflicting data on jobs for college graduates," Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 3, July 1992.

[8] T. Lewin, Student-Loan Borrowers Average $26,500 in Debt, New York Times, 2012.

[9] A. Johnson, T. Nicastro, Get Over It: The Truth About College Grad 'Underemployment': Forbes.


Make a Difference

Working as a community, we can tackle the problem of students entering college without guidance. PunkHire provides the necessary tools to assist the future workforce to reach their highest potential. However, our vision will not be realized without the involvement of the community.

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Make a difference

Guidance, motivation, and structure are components PunkHire desires to administer unto our youth; however, we cannot do this on our own. Many times, the more experienced and established generation may look down on the current youth's work ethics and ambitions. Repeated reports on the rise in crime in our youth lead to negative connotations about youth in general. PunkHire is providing an opportunity for the established generation to directly make a difference in the lives of these youth. Our mission goes beyond encouraging students to attend a post-secondary school; we want to set them up for a career they can both succeed in and be passionate about.

Working as a community, we can tackle the problem of students entering post-secondary school without guidance and preparation. PunkHire provides the necessary tools to assist the future workforce to reach their highest potential; however, our vision will not be possible without the involvement and contribution by our surrounding community.

There are three ways to get involved and contribute to PunkHire: financially; volunteering time and resources; and perhaps the most valuable way to contribute, providing opportunities for work experience.

PunkHire seeks financial contributions from companies, businesses, organizations, professionals, and anyone willing to donate to help fund various programs and activities. Donations are needed to fund transportation, food, facilities and other resources that are necessities for all programs. This organization also seeks volunteers such as current and graduated college students along with current and retired professors and professionals in several industries, to teach and assist students in these various programs. Most importantly, PunkHire seeks various companies, businesses, and organizations to provide work experience and opportunity to high school seniors. In doing so, students will receive hands on exposure to different occupations with the goal of discovering a professional field they would like to pursue. Students will also gain valuable work experience and skills that will build their resume, making them stand out when applying for jobs in their future.

By contributing time, resources and money, our community can come together to develop a better tomorrow for our youth and our society as a whole.