One of the most perilous challenges facing the United States is the erosion of the work ethic. Too many young people simply have not been taught how to work, nor are some inclined to learn because of a sense of entitlement.
The answer to this vexing issue is simple - institute a public service draft. Every person who turns 18 in this country ought to be compelled to enroll in one of the many agencies that exist such Americorps, the Peace Corps, or any number of other organizations designed to help others.
A lottery would be established so that among this pool of recruits, a certain persentage would be assigned to one of the 5 branches of the military. This does two things - it fills slots that go unfilled because of recruitment challenges, and it forces our military to more accurately reflect the diverse nature of our general population.
There would be no exceptions other than for extreme medical hardships, and each recruit must serve for 2 years. Basic educational requirements would be fulfilled, civics would be emphasized so everyone understands how we govern ourselves, and physical education would be compulsory during basic train.
In exchange for this service, free college or trade school tuition, including room and board, would be provided to each person who successfully fulfilled their commitment - along with substantial bank account that would be set aside during the course, making it easier to jump start a career.
A program such as this would be one of the largest and most expensive undertakings the country will have ever taken on, but the results would be well worth it. Everyone would end up with a GED at minimum, each graduate would have the skills necessary to succeed (including knowing how to shake hands properly), and most importantly, pride in our country and its people would be restored.