Two New Casey Initiatives to Focus on Education and Employment for Youth, Young Adults

Posted September 8, 2015
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog twonewcaseyinitiatives 2015

Mil­lions of Amer­i­ca’s young peo­ple are strug­gling to find jobs — and to get the edu­ca­tion and train­ing that are nec­es­sary to keep them. Youth and young adults ages 1624 have seen the most dras­tic drop in employ­ment since the Great Reces­sion, and the per­cent­age of young peo­ple ages 1829 in the job mar­ket has steadi­ly declined in recent years. These bleak sta­tis­tics have long-term impli­ca­tions for each of these young peo­ple, their fam­i­lies and our nation­al economy.

This month, the Foun­da­tion is launch­ing two new ini­tia­tives focused on ensur­ing youth and young adults have access to edu­ca­tion­al and employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties that will enable them to become suc­cess­ful adults. These ini­tia­tives — one cen­tered on youth involved in pub­lic sys­tems; the oth­er, on equip­ping young peo­ple to align with the needs of employ­ers and region­al economies — join a range of nation­al and local part­ner­ships seek­ing to build brighter futures for young people.

A Focus on Youth in Sys­tems: Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential

The Foun­da­tion is now invit­ing let­ters of intent for a new five-year ini­tia­tive called Learn and Earn to Achieve Poten­tial (LEAP)™.

Fund­ed in part by a $7.5 mil­lion grant from the Social Inno­va­tion Fund, LEAP adapts two mod­els to help young peo­ple ages 1425 — par­tic­u­lar­ly those who have been involved in the child wel­fare and juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems — con­nect with post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion and jobs. The Jobs for America’s Grad­u­ates (JAG) mod­el helps youth build pro­fes­sion­al skills, gain full-time employ­ment, enter post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion and earn a cre­den­tial. Jobs for the Future’s Back on Track mod­el pro­vides aca­d­e­m­ic enrich­ment and oth­er sup­port pro­grams to help young peo­ple com­plete high school and build paths to careers by earn­ing a post­sec­ondary degree or credential.

Togeth­er with nation­al part­ners JAG, Jobs for the Future and MDRC, the Foun­da­tion hopes to build evi­dence on what works so that more orga­ni­za­tions can take up these mod­els on a broad scale, enabling even more young peo­ple to suc­ceed in school and work.

Find out more about LEAP and how to apply

Jobs for Young Adults — With an Empha­sis on Employ­ers’ Needs

Next week, the Foun­da­tion will invite a small group of local part­ner­ships to sub­mit pro­pos­als for a new ini­tia­tive that seeks to improve job oppor­tu­ni­ties for young adults ages 1829. This effort will pro­mote approach­es that com­bine what are known as demand-side strate­gies — which focus on the needs of employ­ers, the avail­able jobs in the region­al labor mar­ket and the skills they require — with youth devel­op­ment sup­port ser­vices and strate­gies, such as men­tor­ing and learn­ing in real work environments.

Over the next eight years, Casey will seek to scale these strate­gies in the four sites cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate in the ini­tia­tive by help­ing work­force sys­tems and prac­ti­tion­ers build stronger con­nec­tions with employ­ers and serve as net­works for young peo­ple seek­ing employ­ment. Stay tuned for more news about the ini­tia­tive lat­er this fall, when the Foun­da­tion announces the cho­sen sites.

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