Implications for Program Development
For those interested in developing their own workforce development and career readiness programs, the report has a few words of advice.
Set aside time to build relationships, preferably before focusing on skill-building. One program has case managers who grab coffee with their students every week, while others text them regularly to check in.
Offer alumni services. Have a system in place to offer graduates advice on “career-related and personal topics, such as resume refreshers, mock interviews, or understanding the ins and outs of financial aid.”
Hire a dedicated staff. This often means hiring employees who can go above and beyond a typical 9-to-5 work day and provide the necessary support to remove barriers that could impede a young person’s success. For example, one program helped connect a young person and that person’s entire family with health care.
Develop a multidisciplinary approach. “Programs should deliver services as part of multidisciplinary teams that represent a range of human service domains,” the report advises. “Ensuring that career development activities are situated in broader human development interventions will support young people’s success as a part of a more inclusive and diverse workforce.”
The Youth Opportunity Fund, led by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance, provides grants to nonprofits working in innovative ways to place low-income young adults on a path toward college and career success in 10 cities across the United States.
Read the full report and learn more about the four organizations here. For more stories about all Youth Opportunity Fund community partners, visit our Medium page.