Pathways to Careers Fund

Pathways to Careers Fund

In 2017, the Forum for Community Solutions launched the Pathways to Careers Fund, which builds on the work of the Opportunity Youth Forum and Demonstration Cities and seeks to create, accelerate, and expand innovative career pathways to improve job placement and retention for opportunity youth. The Pathways to Careers Fund supports employer-connected pathways for the most vulnerable youth in its Demonstration Cities – Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, and Seattle. The Pathways Fund bolsters programs that partner with employers to clearly articulate and intentionally link education and/or training with improved employment outcomes in order to create new knowledge and advance the field’s ability to better serve opportunity youth, generate scalable and sustainable models, and demonstrate business value.

The Forum for Community Solutions is excited to share that 15 projects resulted from an initial round of the Pathways Fund in all five cities and a second round in New Orleans. The grantees will implement a diverse range of innovative projects.

Chicago/Cook County

  1. The Opportunity Youth Robotics Technician Training Program is a partnership between Safer Foundation and BSD Industries (a L3C social enterprise), designed to prepare and train justice-involved youth between the ages of 18-24 for advanced manufacturing jobs.
  2. Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (“Skills”) will meet the hiring needs of committed employer partners by placing young adults into entry-level jobs with four Beacon Employer Partners – Walgreens, CDW, Freedman Seating Company, and Rush –that are committed to advancing youth along defined pathways into middle-income careers through the “Pivot to Success” program model. Skills will utilize its deep employer relationships and will leverage this expertise to effectively create new employment pathways for young adults.
  3. Youth Guidance and Sprint have partnered to increase access to employment opportunities for up to 60 opportunity youth.
  4. Youth Job Center’s (YJC) Retail/Customer Service Career Pathways is an intensive program building upon the foundations of Gap Inc.’s This Way Ahead program.If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the Chicago Pathways to Careers Fund, electronic submissions are due to to no later than 5:00 p.m. PDT, Friday, October 26.
The Pathways to Careers Fund bolsters programs that partner with employers to clearly articulate and intentionally link education and/or training with improved employment outcomes in order to create new knowledge and advance the field’s ability to better serve opportunity youth, generate scalable and sustainable models, and demonstrate business value.

Los Angeles

5. Over  the  last  three  years,  The  Bixel  Exchange’s  LA Tech  Talent  Pipeline,  a  partnership  with  the  Office  of  Mayor  Eric  Garcetti,  facilitated over  100  employer-driven and  co-designed work-based learning (WBL) experiences, such  as  company  tours,  job  shadows,  and  interactive  learning  projects,  to  help  participants  build  their  portfolios  and  get  “real-world”  experience  in  tech.
6. LeadersUp will create  an  “opportunity  market”  to  benefit  Opportunity  Youth  in  Los  Angeles  County  in  partnership  with  the  American  Hotel  &  Lodging  Association  (AHLA.)
7. Operation Emancipation is The RightWayFoundation’s revolutionary, flagship employment and life-readiness program for transition age foster youth that integrates and simultaneously provides employment and mental health services.

New Orleans

8. The goal of  the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Workforce  Innovations  program  is  to  accelerate  and  expand  career  pathways  within  the  healthcare  and  hospitality  sectors  in  New  Orleans.
9. While serving 200 youth over two years in employability training and job placement, Liberty’s Kitchen will pilot a new Career Track program with three model partner employers to assist 15 motivated Liberty’s Kitchen graduates to get hired, retain employment for a year or more, and take meaningful steps toward promotion and wage growth.
10. Urban League of Louisiana in partnership with employer partners including the Intercontinental Hotel, is engaging former opportunity youth in development of a unique workforce initiative that provides specialized education and skills training to prepare opportunity youth to compete for jobs in the hospitality sector.
11. The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and the Link Restaurant Group (LRG) will pilot an innovative career pathway partnership that will provide opportunity youth ages 18-24 with soft skills, training, and work experience in multiple aspects of the hospitality industry including direct customer service, event planning, sales and administration.

Phoenix/Maricopa County

12. Arizona Center for Youth Resources’ Pathways  to  Success proposal,  grounded  in  successful  processes, operating  structure  and  ability  to  build on our publicly  funded  programs,  includes  effective  and  innovative  program  design  to  help  youth  access  employment,  education,  and  training  to  succeed  in  the  labor  market  and  to  match  employers  with  the  skilled  workers  they  need  to  compete  in  the  global  economy.
13. Chicanos Por La Causa Workforce Solutions will serve 300 opportunity youth over the course of two years with a focus of on youth who live in the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix.

Seattle/King County

14. The Accelerator YMCA of Greater Seattle, in partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill, will support pathways for opportunity youth (OY) ages 16-25 to become work-ready and successfully transition to employment as well as help those who are already working to persist and advance within their career.
15. Year Up Puget Sound, Bellevue College, and T-Mobile, will serve a cohort of young adults during summer 2017 through an innovative partnership that opens a wide range of doors for opportunity youth, and would serve as a model for a similar program locally in 2018, and be replicable for other markets and other retail employers.

Click here for the Pathways to Careers Fund Request for Letters of Intent in Seattle/South King County. Please be advised that one-page letters of intent are due by electronic submission to no later than 5:00 p.m. PDT, Friday, September 28. Feedback on submissions will be provided by Friday, October 5, and full proposals will be due on Friday, November 9, 2018.

The Pathways to Careers Fund projects awarded to date have been made possible by the generous support of our partners, including: The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The McCormick Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Seattle Foundation, The United Way of King County, and the Walmart Foundation.

To learn more about the Fund, please contact Emma Uman,

Comprehensives details of the funded projects can be found here.