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Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent

Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent, along with our 2013 research publication Barriers to Entry, represents a call to action to build a system that gives every young adult an opportunity to earn a wage and participate in New York City’s economy while meeting the needs of the businesses that hire them.

An estimated 172,000 young adults in New York City are neither working nor enrolled in school. Another 133,000 young adults work in low-wage jobs with limited opportunities for advancement. Together, they comprise 35 percent of the city’s 18- to 24-year-old population.

Without focused attention and support from city leaders in government, industry, and philanthropy, as well as employers, many of the young adults in the 35 Percent may never achieve economic self-sufficiency.

JobsFirstNYC proposes the creation of a comprehensive, community-based, and employer-focused young adult employment initiative that contains the following elements:

  1. Sectoral Young Adult Employment Partnerships
  2. Sector-Based Training and Apprenticeship Programs that Support Young Adults Seeking Career-Track Work, While Meeting Employer Demands
  3. A Network of Community-Based Young Adult Opportunity Centers and Employment Partnerships
  4. A One-Stop Web Portal Providing Career Information and Access to Education, Training and Employment Resources
  5. The system we propose would address some of the biggest obstacles and help reopen the path to self-sufficiency wage jobs—to the benefit not only of young adults but of every New Yorker.

Read our concept paper for a network of Opportunity Centers across NYC.

Download the Report

Related Press

Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent
Huffington Post, by Louis Miceli, August 6, 2014.

Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent
Gotham Gazette, by Louis Miceli, August 6, 2014.

Tough Times for Youths
Crains New York, by Nicholas Wells, August 4, 2014.


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