Creating a More Inclusive Economy: Igniting Systems that Produce Results for Youth Employment

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On March 5 and 6, 2018, stakeholders from across the Southeast gathered to engage in strategic dialogue on behalf of low-income youth and young adults, including opportunity youth. “Creating a More Inclusive Economy: Igniting Systems that Produce Results for Youth Employment” was sponsored by CLASP, MDC Inc., and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, in partnership with Opportunity Youth United and Cities United

Despite booming business and economic development across the Southeast, youth and young adults from low-income backgrounds are being left out. This is especially true for opportunity youth (young adults 16 to 24 who are not connected to school or work). Nationwide there are 4.6 million opportunity youth (representing 11.7 percent of American youth). Youth of color are more likely to be disconnected from school and work, with national rates of 25.8 percent for Native American youth, 17.2 percent for Black youth, 13.7 percent for Latino youth, and 6.6 percent for Asian youth. This is compared to 9.2 percent of white youth.

At this regional convening, government officials, philanthropic leaders, and opportunity youth discussed supportive systems and policies that can help youth access employment and career pathways that lead to economic opportunity. They discussed what it will take to build a full-scale, comprehensive youth employment agenda; local solutions that are working; and roadblocks to progress.


Day One (March 5)

Welcome and Opening Remarks 

  • Kisha Bird, Director, Youth Policy, CLASP (Washington D.C) | @CLASPKisha
  • Stuart Andreason, Director, Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (Atlanta, GA) | @Stuart Andreason @AtlantaFed

Economic Opportunity: Reflections on Workforce Practice, Innovation, and Policy 

  • Tim Gunn, Opportunity Youth United (North Charleston, SC) | @OYUnited
  • Chauncy Lennon, Managing Director and Head of Workforce Initiatives, Global Philanthropy, JP Morgan Chase (New York, NY) | @ChauncyLennon, @JPMorganChase 

Closing Remarks 

  • Leslie Boissiere, Vice President, External Affairs, Annie E. Casey Foundation | @LeslieBoissiere, @AECFNews

Day Two (March 6) 

Welcome and Opening Remarks 

  • Kisha Bird, CLASP (Washington, D.C) | @CLASPKisha
  • Stuart Andreason, Center for Workforce and Economic Employment Opportunity, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Shanice Turner, Year Up, United Way, & Opportunity Youth United (Atlanta, GA) | @ShaniceSpeaks, @OYUnited  

Leading on Opportunity: Building Social Capital and Confronting Segregation 

  • James Ford, Chair, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force (Charlotte, NC) | @JEFordNCTOY

Setting the Context: Regional Perspectives on Barriers and Opportunities 

  • Lesley Grady, Senior Vice President, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (Atlanta, GA) | @philanthropyATL
  • Taifa Smith Butler, Executive Director, Georgia Budget, and Policy Institute (Atlanta, GA) | @TaifaButler
  • Shanice Turner, Year Up, United Way, & Opportunity Youth United
  • Ellen Zinkiewicz, Director of Youth and Community Services, Nashville Career Advancement Center (Nashville, TN) | @EllenZinkiewicz

        Moderator: Kisha Bird, CLASP 

Building a Talent Development Pipeline: What Works in Workforce and Economic Development 

  • Heidi Kaplan, Senior Community Development Analyst, Federal Reserve Board (Washington, D.C) @federalreserve
  • Katrina Mitchell, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (Atlanta, GA) @kdm1274 @GADFCS
  • Lashon Amado, Opportunity Youth United (Somerville, MA) @Lashon_YB @OYUnited

        Moderator: Stuart Andreason, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Not Just About a Job: Systems Building for Greater Youth Inclusion in the Economy 

  • Olivia Golden, Executive Director, CLASP (Washington, DC) | @CLASPOlivia
  • Edward DeJesus, President, DeJesus Solutions (Harrisburg, PA) | @DeJesusSpeaks

Strong Systems, Strong Programs: Connecting Local Systems 

  • Mayor Jeri Muoio, City of West Palm Beach (West Palm Beach, FL) | @westpalmbch
  • Richie Knight, Senior Partner, HW Creative Marketing (Athens, GA) | @hwcreativemark
  • Shawnice Jackson, Opportunity Youth United (Baltimore, MD) | @MissEducateThem

       Moderator: Mala Thakur, Senior Program Director, MDC Inc. (Durham, NC)

Facilitated Discussion: From Regional to National: Galvanizing Support for National Movement and Bringing it Home