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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Youth Guidance and Sprint have partnered to increase access to employment opportunities for up to 60 opportunity youth.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Comprehensives details of the funded projects can be found here.