APA YES

Hartford Action Roundtable to Focus on Connecting Youth to Jobs

Capital Workforce Partners convenes partners to press for supportive policies

HARTFORD – November 22, 2019 – Capital Workforce Partners will hold a youth-employment conference today at the State of Connecticut Legislative Building to address the needs of Opportunity Youth—at-risk young people ages 18 to 24 who are not actively engaged in school or the workforce.

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 Boston, Hartford and other Connecticut cities, New York, and Philadelphia to present on-the-ground examples of successful youth opportunity programs.

“It is imperative that we work with effective Opportunity Youth programs to support quality career pathways leading to good jobs for youth. In supporting Opportunity Youth in the fullest way we will also have the greatest impact on gaining full youth employment,” said Alex Johnson, president and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners, which is a regional workforce development board. “This has been one of my highest priorities and I’m excited that this conference would convene groups from around Connecticut and Northeastern cities to support this goal.”

The meeting will equip attendees with information about national and federal Opportunity Youth policies to consider in their states when planning and implementing programs.

“My hope is that we can have a coalition that will build a vibrant and inclusive economy so there will be a job available for every young person who wants to work and be a productive member of our society. This is critical, particularly for our urban areas, where we have high levels of youth employment,” said Rep. Toni Walker (D-New Haven), who is the House chair of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee. “It is imperative that we work to provide job opportunities for our children, especially in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, IT and other sectors, so they can succeed and help ensure the future of Connecticut,” she said.

The gathering is part of the YES Project, a national youth employment campaign sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance. The Hartford meeting is the third of four in communities across the nation aimed at securing commitments from attendees to specific actions that will increase opportunities for young people to find work. The other locations are Chicago, the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, and Los Angeles.

The YES Project—which stands for Young, Employed, and Successful—aims to ensure that young people are ready, connected, and supported as they move toward entering the workplace. Launched in April, the campaign’s goal is that every young person seeking a job, can find a job. With 1.5 million young people searching but unable to secure jobs, the initiative aims to amplify successful efforts by programs, communities, and employers to ensure that youth are ready, connected, and supported to succeed in employment.

“These roundtables are bringing together a diverse group of key players to examine the systems affecting youth employment locally,” said Omofehintola Akinrinade, manager, strategic initiatives and partnerships at America’s Promise Alliance. “The goal is for attendees to walk away from these conversations having made a commitment to actions they will take to drive this work forward.”

The organizations leading the action roundtables are members of the Aspen Institute Opportunity Youth Forum. Learnings from the convenings will inform the actions communities across the country can take to increase youth employment, putting more young people on a path to self-reliance and future prosperity.

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.

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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

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