Our Piece of the Pie receives $1.1 million U.S Department of Labor grant to help young adults in the North Hartford Promise Zone to bolster job readiness and career placement efforts. This grant is focused on youth aged 18-24 who have recently been released from prison and live in the Promise Zone. For the full story, see here.
Access to a job in the summer and beyond can make all the difference to a young person – especially those who don’t have access to many resources and opportunities.”
– President Barack Obama
Hartford has secured a federal grant to provide 275 youth with summer and year-round job opportunities and exposure to career pathways for in-demand job sectors. Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) is partnering with the City of Hartford, Hartford Public Schools, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, and two employer partnerships – MetroHartford Alliance for Careers in Health Care and Advanced Manufacturing Employer Partnership – and leveraging its partnership with Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative and others to offer Promise Zone Youth Employment for Success (Promise Zone YES!).
“Connecting Hartford’s young men and women to jobs is the single most important thing we can do to build a stronger Hartford. Promise Zone YES! is a critical part of our effort to expand youth employment opportunities in Hartford, and I’m incredibly grateful to Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Congressman Larson and the Obama Administration for their support. I also want to thank Capital Workforce Partners and other community groups who are working hard to prepare to launch this program for Hartford’s young people.”
– Luke Bronin, Mayor of Hartford and Chair of Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative
Promise Zone YES! serves as a way to transform youth-serving systems and engage the North Hartford Promise Zone in partnership with Blue Hills Civic Association, unlocking the untapped talent of North Hartford as an engine for economic prosperity and investment in the future of the youth.
“It’s even more than just giving youth something meaningful to do. By providing these employment and skill-credentialing opportunities, we are working toward closing achievement gaps, and our future workforce is better prepared to meet the business needs of the region today and tomorrow. It is an economic competitiveness imperative.”
– Thomas Phillips, President and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners
Promise Zone YES! will serve 275 in-school and out-of-school youth, with 190 placed in unsubsidized employment, 85 placed in post-secondary education or training, and 204 gaining industry-recognized credentials. CWP, the local workforce development board for North Central Connecticut, will partner with the City of Hartford, Hartford Public Schools, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, and two employer partnerships.
Notably, Promise Zone YES! will engage Youth Leaders, including youth who have successfully completed HOYC’s Youth Leadership Development Training Program and/or WIA/WIOA youth programs to act as peer mentors to participating youth. Mentoring will be provided in coordination with project staff and, as appropriate, with other partners and community stakeholders. This may include one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring (including youth leadership clubs), and/or peer mentoring. The youth leadership clubs will offer group-based college and career search assistance, networking, and peer support groups, all centered in the NHPZ and integrated with the community. Youth Leaders will be eligible for stipends, which are reflected in the project budget.
News of Hartford receiving these federal funds is part of a larger U.S. Department of Labor announcement of $21 million in Grants to Connect Young Americans to Jobs. Connecticut’s capital city is one of 11 communities across the country will receive a portion of the $21 million to launch and expand innovative approaches that provide young people with summer and year-round jobs.
If you are interested in learning more about Promise Zone YES!, contact Kim Oliver.
Mayor Luke Bronin invites you to the next meeting of the collaborative which will take place on Monday, March 28th at 12 noon at the Hartford Public Library (Downtown).
Aspen Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund
We All Start Somewhere
Who Do We Think We Are? (Starts at 21m09s)
America Needs Talent
100,000 Opportunities Initiative in Chicago
Jemuel East, a youth in Blue Hills Civic Association’s BHEST program, shared his story during a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance webinar.
Jem is a 23-year old native of Hartford and one of 17 young men of color being served in the BHEST program at Blue Hills Civic Association in 2015-2016 as part of Opportunity Works Hartford. The BHEST program is supported by Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Youth funds and the Social Innovation Fund (as a subgrantee of Jobs for the Future).
The goal of the webinar was to help organizations engage workforce development boards to better serve opportunity youth and boys and men of color. Other presenters included Jennifer Kemp from the U.S. Department of Labor, Alex Johnson from Capital Workforce Partners, and Kim Oliver from Capital Workforce Partners and Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative.
The webinar was recorded, and a link will be made available shortly. For the presentation slides, go here.
For more on My Brother’s Keeper in Hartford, go here.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation announced plans to award $6 million in grants over the next four years to increase job opportunities for young adults from low income families in Hartford and four other communities (Cleveland, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Seattle). Hartford expects to receive up to $900,000 over the grant period for planning and implementation.
Through Generation Work, the Foundation aims to combine building relationships with businesses, factoring in their needs in the local economy, with youth development strategies to prepare young people for work, such as mentoring and on-the-job learning opportunities. Ultimately, Casey hopes to help establish local networks of workforce development organizations that serve young job seekers and have strong connections with businesses.
Locally, Hartford Generation Work is led by United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, working with five other community partners — Capital Workforce Partners, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative, Our Piece of the Pie and Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford. Hartford’s initiative will connect young adults, including those out-of-school or work or underemployed, with education, training and employment for careers in manufacturing and healthcare. The initiative also intends to improve coordination and collaboration among partners and youth initiatives.
“This investment in our future workforce is key to the region’s prosperity and economic health,” says Thomas Phillips, president and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners. “We are excited to be part of this initiative.”
“We’re so proud to have been selected for this award, which will further the work with our partners to assist young adults with the skills for employment,” said Susan B. Dunn, president and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.
While the Great Recession hit many hard, teens and young adults have experienced the most drastic drop in employment, data show. Millions of young people — particularly young people of color, justice-system involved, or aging out of foster care and from low-income families — face obstacles to employment or education, and the percentage of young people ages 18 to 29 in the job market has steadily declined in recent years. At the same time, employers often struggle to find workers with the right set of skills for available positions.
“The strength of our future workforce is one of our nation’s greatest assets and is critical to our ability to compete globally,” said Allison Gerber, a senior associate who oversees the Casey Foundation’s investments in improving job opportunities for low-income individuals and families. “The next generation is eager to work, but we must create more avenues for young adults to develop the knowledge and experience they need to succeed in the job market.”
Equal Measures, the national evaluator for Aspen’s Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, is visiting Hartford on December 8th and 9th for a site visit. During the visit, Equal Measures will attend the Collaborative meeting on December 8th at 12 noon and meet individually with some organization members to learn about experiences, learnings, impact, and perspectives on the collaborative.
The site visit will focus on understanding how the collective impact model is being used to build education and career pathways for Opportunity Youth in Hartford. It aims to identify strategies for improving outcomes among opportunity youth, and to elevate and share those lessons with the Aspen Institute and other collaboratives participating in the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, as well as with the field more broadly. Equal Measure is not assessing the collaborative’s progress or judging site performance.
The goals of the site visit are three-fold:
- To better understand the collaborative’s strategies for improving the education and employment outcomes of Opportunity Youth in the community
- To identify factors that influence progress in the community and its efforts to enact systems change
- To elevate promising approaches for using collaboratives to improve Opportunity Youth outcomes
For questions, contact Kim Oliver.
For the Hartford OYC, the Collective Impact approach has been an important lever for engendering a shared sense of purpose across numerous local community-based organizations.”
Jobs for the Future (JFF) works with communities like Hartford to design and drive the adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for youth and adults. In this report, JFF shares a brief history of the OYIF, highlights key strategies used in OYIF communities to design and implement pathways for youth, and shares critically important early lessons in pathway design.
In “Designing for Success”, the authors note Aspen’s Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF) has focused on reconnecting Opportunity Youth through community-based collaborations that effectively remove barriers, connect the many systems that touch their lives, and build and deeper education and employment pathways. In 2013, Aspen awarded Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative an OYIF grant and a subsequent implementation grant in 2014. Following in 2015, Hartford received a Social Innovation Fund award as a subgrantee of JFF and began Opportunity Works Hartford, local programming part of a national Opportunity Works initiative to build evidence to further promote effective pathways.
Opportunity Works Hartford offers evidence-based career pathway programming in health care and manufacturing in partnership with community-based organizations and community colleges to Opportunity Youth ages 18 to 24. This effort has a strong focus on young men of color and will serve 180 by 2018. These youth will earn industry-recognized credentials, complete internships, and secure jobs that lead to sustaining wages.
Opportunity Works Hartford is an initiative of Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative, managed by Capital Workforce Partners, and supported by Annie E. Casey Foundation, Aspen Forum for Community Solutions, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, NBCUniversal Foundation, and Social Innovation Fund (as a subgrantee of Jobs for the Future). Program delivery is led by Blue Hills Civic Association and Our Piece of the Pie in partnership with Asnuntuck, Capital, and Manchester Community Colleges.
Opportunity Nation released a half-decade view of Opportunity in America.
The 2015 Opportunity Index shows that overall while opportunity is up nationwide by 9 percent since 2011, the nation’s ongoing economic recovery is uneven, leaving millions behind.
- There are higher rates of poverty and income inequality and lower median family incomes in 2015 than there were five years ago.
- There are 5.5 million disconnected young adults in 2015, a slight decrease since 2011 but still above pre-recession levels.
- Zip codes matter.
For more information, go here.