Press Release

Community Action Roundtables to Focus on Connecting Youth to Jobs

America’s Promise Alliance’s YES Project announces convenings in Chicago, Hartford, the Hopi Reservation, and L.A. where stakeholders will commit to connect young people with career opportunities

WASHINGTON – The YES Project, a national youth employment campaign led by America’s Promise Alliance, today announced Action Roundtables in four communities to bring organizations, policymakers, and business leaders together to make bold commitments and specific plans to strengthen youth employment in their communities.

The YES Project— Young, Employed, and Successful—helps young people become ready, connected, and supported as they enter and participate in the workplace. Launched in April, the campaign’s goal is to support and grow our youth workforce so that every young person seeking a job can find a job. Through the YES Project, America’s Promise Alliance amplifies successful efforts by programs, communities, and employers to ensure that youth thrive in employment.

“For young people, securing early employment can inform their professional pathways and lead to meaningful work, robust careers, and strengthened confidence,” said Nathaniel Cole, senior director of strategic initiatives and partnerships at America’s Promise Alliance. “Focusing on young people in the workforce is also a win for employers, who can tap into fresh talent and perspectives and cultivate dedicated employees with the potential to stay and grow.”

The communities and affiliated organizations hosting the roundtables include the Ancestral Lands Hopi Program in Arizona, Thrive Chicago, Capital Workforce Partners in Hartford, Conn., and the Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative.

“These roundtables will bring together a diverse group of key players to look at what is influencing how young people are connecting to employment opportunities in their own communities,” said Omofehintola Akinrinade, manager, strategic initiatives and partnerships. “The goal is for attendees to walk away from these conversations with a commitment to act and a plan to drive this work forward.”

The four initiatives and the dates of the community action roundtables are:

Ancestral Lands Hopi Program (Oct. 14-15): In collaboration with the Hopi Opportunity Youth Initiative, the Conservation Legacy’s Ancestral Lands Hopi program, seeks to address the looming employment deficit on the Hopi Reservation due to the closure of a coal mine. The convening will bring together nonprofits, federal partners, tribal leadership, and local community members to identify employment opportunities for Hopi youth. Ancestral Lands Hopi collaborates with multiple federal agency partners, such as the U.S. Park Service, Forest Service, and other land management agencies, to directly employ Hopi youth.

Thrive Chicago (Nov. 12): Thrive Chicago seeks to change the narrative around retail employment by informing young people of the pathways outside of customer service, including human resources, marketing, information technology, and more. Thrive Chicago will convene City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and employer partners in the retail sector to discuss the many pathways within the industry and the skills young people need to succeed in those pathways.

Capital Workforce Partners (Nov. 22): While the Northeast is often seen as a high-opportunity region when it comes to employment, many Opportunity Youth in large cities are struggling to find employment. Capital Workforce Partners, in collaboration with several major Opportunity Youth organizations, will convene and engage stakeholders and youth leaders from Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Hartford, and other Connecticut cities to present on-the-ground examples of successful youth opportunity programs. They will also equip attendees with information about national and federal opportunity youth policies to consider in their states when planning and implementing programs.

Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative (date to be announced in January): The Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC), led by the Alliance for Children’s Rights, works to improve education and employment outcomes for transition-age youth who are or have been in foster care. The OYC is made up of over 50 partners, including the Department of Child and Family Services, John Burton Advocates for Youth, iFoster, the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, public workforce development boards, L.A. Unified School District, and the L.A. County Office of Education, among others. Together, the OYC creates connections and builds capacity among its partners, transforms systems and policies, elevates foster youth voice, and helps agencies prioritize the specific needs of foster youth.

The organizations leading the action roundtables are members of the Aspen Institute Opportunity Youth Forum. Takeaways from the convenings will not only drive action in these four areas, but will also inform the actions communities across the country can take to increase youth employment, putting more young people, specifically Opportunity Youth, on a path to self-reliance and future prosperity.

"We are proud to be part of this collective effort to connect opportunity youth to career pathways,” said Monique Miles, Managing Director, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. “We are hopeful these roundtable discussions will enable us to learn more so we can deliver continued successes to create even more opportunities for those who need it the most.”

The YES Project is made possible by the generous support of Citi Foundation and State Farm; the guidance of steering committee and alliance members; and insight from corporations, foundations, and individuals who invest their resources and time into the YES Project’s mission. https://www.americaspromise.org/yes

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America’s Promise Alliance is the driving force behind a nationwide movement to improve the lives and futures of America’s youth. Its work is anchored in the belief that every young person deserves to succeed, and every adult is responsible for making that happen. By bringing together hundreds of national nonprofits, businesses, community and civic leaders, educators, citizens, and young people, the Alliance does what no single organization can do on its own: catalyze action on a scale that reaches millions of young people. www.AmericasPromise.org