Strengthening Workforce and Education Partnerships and Pathways

Reflections on the 2023 LEAP Convening

Posted April 5, 2023
A group of people stand in a conference room, looking at the camera.

Learn and Earn to Achieve Poten­tial (LEAP)™ — an ini­tia­tive of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion — cre­ates sup­port­ive career and edu­ca­tion path­ways for youth, ages 1425, who have expe­ri­enced fos­ter care, crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem involve­ment or home­less­ness. Recent­ly, the Foun­da­tion host­ed its annu­al Nation­al LEAP Con­ven­ing in Baltimore.

Dur­ing the 2023 con­ven­ing — the initiative’s first in-per­son meet­ing since 2019 — atten­dees par­tic­i­pat­ed in a vari­ety of work­shops, includ­ing ses­sions on men­tal health assis­tance for youth, com­mu­ni­ca­tions train­ing for young lead­ers and the approach­es being imple­ment­ed by part­ner organizations. 

The three-day event saw youth lead­ers and adults reflect on their col­lec­tive work in three areas:

  1. LEAP’s sup­port of edu­ca­tion and career tra­jec­to­ries for young peo­ple who have expe­ri­enced pub­lic systems;
  2. how strate­gic part­ner­ships with pub­lic sys­tems can pro­mote and expand the reach of equi­table career and edu­ca­tion path­ways; and
  3. the role of young adults in cul­ti­vat­ing equi­table path­ways to school and work. 

Lessons From the 2023 LEAP Convening

Three key take­aways from the convening:

  1. Youth engage­ment is essen­tial. Young peo­ple are cen­tral to LEAP’s part­ner­ships and accom­plish­ments across the coun­try. Beyond shap­ing the design of career and edu­ca­tion pro­grams, youth serve as pow­er­ful advo­cates, call­ing for resources and sup­port that young peo­ple need to thrive.
  2. Scale strate­gies for today and tomor­row. LEAP part­ner­ships are con­sid­er­ing mul­ti­ple scal­ing strate­gies at once. These include expand­ing their geo­graph­ic reach, expand­ing their demo­graph­ic reach — such as adding immi­grant youth — and forg­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships with pub­lic sys­tems. The ongo­ing work of LEAP part­ners also affords orga­ni­za­tions a use­ful win­dow into the nuances of scal­ing work to bet­ter serve young people.
  3. Embrace inno­v­a­tive part­ner­ships. Through LEAP, part­ners are devel­op­ing cross-sys­tem rela­tion­ships with com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions, schools, employ­er part­ners and juve­nile jus­tice and child wel­fare sys­tems. These part­ner­ships have sparked a num­ber of pro­duc­tive evo­lu­tions, includ­ing improv­ing process­es between child wel­fare and work­force agen­cies, adding class­rooms in juve­nile deten­tion facil­i­ties and more.

Read more about how LEAP helps young peo­ple succeed

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