A Spotlight on Sector Strategies: Connecting Youth With Work

Posted June 24, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Sector-based strategies are used by workforce development professionals to align jobs programs with the needs of employers in a particular job sector.

For young peo­ple pur­su­ing a high school diplo­ma or post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion and train­ing, find­ing a job with a flex­i­ble sched­ule and a pay­check that cov­ers basic expens­es — things like hous­ing, child care and trans­porta­tion — can seem impossible.

For­tu­nate­ly, sec­tor-based work­force strate­gies can help.

These approach­es con­sid­er the hir­ing needs of employ­ers in grow­ing indus­tries and then work to equip job seek­ers — often indi­vid­u­als from low-income com­mu­ni­ties — with the desired skills and credentials.

For near­ly three decades, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has invest­ed in sec­tor-based work­force strate­gies, includ­ing launch­ing two ini­tia­tives in recent years: Gen­er­a­tion Work™ and Learn and Earn to Achieve Poten­tial (LEAP)™.

Gen­er­a­tion Work and LEAP

Gen­er­a­tion Work — which spans part­ner­ships in five cities nation­wide — helps young peo­ple lever­age the skills they gain from entry-lev­el work expe­ri­ences so that they can pur­sue longer-term career paths in high-growth fields.

With LEAP, Foun­da­tion part­ners are employ­ing sec­tor strate­gies to help young peo­ple advance their aca­d­e­m­ic and career goals and achieve greater finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty. Local exam­ples of this ini­tia­tive in action include:

  • In Ari­zona: Jobs for Ari­zon­a’s Grad­u­ates (JAG) teamed up with a local gro­cery chain, Fry’s Food, to stream­line its appli­ca­tion and hir­ing process­es and appoint train­ing spe­cial­ists to sup­port LEAP par­tic­i­pants and oth­er JAG youth. To date, near­ly 100 JAG youth have gained employ­ment with Fry’s Food, which has more than 120 store locations.
  • In New York City: Three orga­ni­za­tions — The Door, Hos­tos Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege and work­force train­ing provider Per Scholas — joined forces to help intro­duce youth to work in high-growth sec­tors. To date, 37 young peo­ple have received train­ing, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and paid work expe­ri­ence via the college’s emer­gency med­ical tech­ni­cian pro­gram. Young peo­ple inter­est­ed in tech­nol­o­gy — anoth­er in-demand field — can enroll in Per Scholas’s pro­gram to pre­pare for entry-lev­el IT careers.
  • Also in New York City: The Cen­ter for Alter­na­tive Sen­tenc­ing and Employ­ment Solu­tions and its work­force part­ners — includ­ing STRIVE New York — offer LEAP youth skill-build­ing and cre­den­tial­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties in a range of in-demand fields. To date, 10 young peo­ple have com­plet­ed the STRIVE program.
  • In Los Ange­les: The Coali­tion for Respon­si­ble Com­mu­ni­ty Devel­op­ment offers com­pre­hen­sive sup­port — includ­ing books, uni­forms and trans­porta­tion sub­si­dies — to cur­rent and for­mer fos­ter youth who are attend­ing the Los Ange­les Trade Tech­ni­cal Col­lege and prepar­ing for work in the trans­porta­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing fields.
  • In Detroit: Jobs for Michigan’s Grad­u­ates and the Emerg­ing Indus­tries Train­ing Insti­tute are help­ing LEAP youth explore car­pen­try jobs and secure a union appren­tice­ship while fin­ish­ing high school. At the end of the 16-week pro­gram, par­tic­i­pants have earned a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the state of Michigan’s Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Administration.
  • In Alas­ka: Covenant House Alas­ka and its work­force devel­op­ment part­ner Nine Star launched the Cov­ey Café cof­fee shop. LEAP par­tic­i­pants can intern at the shop to gain hands-on food ser­vice and man­age­ment expe­ri­ence in a youth-cen­tered, trau­ma-informed setting.


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