In 2010, Jessica Underwood graduated from Carthage College in Kenosha with a stellar academic record, a can-do attitude and a newly minted business degree.
But it's been a rough entry into the real world. Like many of her peers, the 24-year-old has acutely felt the stress of a sluggish economy, landing in low-wage jobs, such as telemarketing and retail.
"I applied to anything I could find ... sometimes filling out 10 applications a day," the Downers Grove resident said. "But it was just like a ticket to nowhere."