A Closer Look: The Generation Work Partnership in Hartford

Posted December 6, 2019, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Young person learning a vocational trade.

As part of Generation Work™, the Annie E. Casey Foundation is investing in five partnerships — in Cleveland, Hartford, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Seattle — to explore new ways of helping young people gain the knowledge and experience needed to secure jobs that pay family-sustaining wages.

This post, which focuses on Hartford, Connecticut, is part of a series that explores how each partnership is working to position young people — especially individuals of color and those from low-income communities — for workplace success.

The Challenge

Despite regional job growth since the Great Recession, Hartford’s unemployment rate — which exceeds 6% — is nearly double the state’s rate. Budget constraints have made it more difficult for local education and training systems to prepare low-income residents of color — especially youth and young adults — to meet business demands and secure long-term careers. At the same time, organizations that help young people find employment in Hartford have traditionally worked in isolation, developing independent programming and metrics for success while struggling to coordinate their efforts with public institutions and local employers.

Hartford’s Approach

The Generation Work partnership in Hartford aims to improve and align education, training and support services to better support youth and young adults and connect them to industry-recognized credentials and career advancement opportunities.

To advance this effort, the partnership is focused on facilitating data sharing, engaging youth in program development, and other proven strategies for helping young residents build skills and succeed in high-demand industries. The partners are also helping employers adopt racially equitable and inclusive practices and match young people with jobs that fulfil their interests and needs.

Key Partners

  • Capital Workforce Partners, the region’s workforce development board, helps individuals overcome employment barriers and closes the gap between skills and local hiring needs.
  • City of Hartford Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation, which oversees early childhood education and other youth programming, works to ensure that the city’s young people — ages 9 to 24 — achieve academic success and self-sufficiency.
  • Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the region’s largest community foundation, brings organizations together to share information, review local issues and leverage resources effectively.
  • Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative works with funders, public partners, service providers and other stakeholders to implement strategies that connect Hartford’s youth to education and employment.
  • Our Piece of the Pie, a community-based organization, helps young people develop educational, employment and personal skills that contribute to their success.
  • United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut — the partnership’s convener — mobilizes people and resources to promote youth success and help individuals land stable jobs and family-supporting wages.
  • Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford, a funders’ collaborative, is committed to developing an educated, economically self-sufficient workforce that meets employer needs via sector-based partnerships.

Defining Success

The Generation Work partnership in Hartford sees success as creating a more coordinated and integrated workforce system that helps young people — especially residents of color — find well-paying jobs that lead to sustainable careers. This effort calls for increased data sharing among workforce practitioners and improved collaboration with employers.

Learn more about Generation Work in Hartford

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