On Thursday, November 19th, JobsFirstNYC officially kicked off planning for a 2021 Young Adult Workforce Agenda. Our initial planning meeting, which drew over 40 field leaders—from youth and employer intermediaries, philanthropy, and workforce training CBOs and community colleges—focused on the top priorities for the agenda.
COVID-19 has further exacerbated the challenges faced by young adults in New York City. An estimated 259,000-324,000 are out of school and out of work, representing a rate of 27-34%; enrollment in community colleges is down 23%; and public school enrollment is down an estimated 3.4%, with that number likely to rise as the city more transparently shares data. This moment of crisis is compounded by public funding cuts that have made it difficult for institutions to maintain the necessary capacity to respond to the growing, diverse needs of young adults, including making connections to meaningful economic opportunities.
In response, JobsFirstNYC will work with the field to draft and publish a comprehensive young adult workforce agenda that:
- Provides a city-wide policy agenda rooted in the real needs of young people, on-the-ground practitioners, and in the successful policies and interventions;
- Details practice changes needed to better prepare and connect young adults to work now and to the future of work in a rapidly shifting, increasingly virtual economy; and
- Builds an actionable, realistic, and timebound framework for city-wide systems change of the young adult workforce development field.
The November 19th meeting was just the first step in a four month long process to create this agenda. During this meeting, JobsFirstNYC shared the goals and process and gathered feedback. Attendees then broke out into groups to discuss top priorities for the Young Adult Workforce Agenda, including:
- The importance of engaging young adults and their families to identify root causes and think through how existing structures can help address those root causes;
- Entrepreneurial expansion amongst young adults to create jobs;
- The balance of addressing immediate needs and a long-term systems change strategy; and
- Aligning the agendas of the different young adult serving collaboratives.
These important conversations will continue on December 8th at 3:30 p.m., when we will host a field-wide convening, Building a Young Adult Workforce Agenda for 2021 and Beyond. Be ready to share your ideas and best practices. Click here to register and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or ideas.