The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation has announced grants totaling $6 million over four years to increase job opportunities for young adults in five cities.
Through its new Generation Work initiative, the foundation will award planning grants of $100,000 to partnerships in Cleveland, Hartford, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Seattle to pursue strategies designed to improve employment opportunities for young adults between the ages of 18 and 29. The program aims to combine demand-driven strategies that involve building relationships with businesses and identifying the needs of the local economy and youth-development strategies such as mentoring and on-the-job learning. Through these and other efforts, the foundation ultimately hopes to establish networks of workforce development organizations that serve young job seekers and have strong connections with local businesses.
Led by Towards Employment (Cleveland), the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut (Hartford), Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana (Indianapolis), the Job Opportunity Investment Network (Philadelphia), and SkillUp Washington (Seattle), the partnerships will use their awards to plan the implementation and evaluation of their strategies. Subsequent funding, which could extend up to a total of eight years, will support the implementation and documentation of the impact of their efforts and the promotion of their strategies more broadly to the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
"Our future workforce is one of our nation's greatest assets, and we cannot compete globally unless it is strong," said Allison Gerber, a senior associate who oversees the Casey Foundation's investments in improving job opportunities for low-income individuals and families. "The next generation is eager to work, but we must create more avenues for young adults to develop the knowledge and experience they need to succeed in the job market."
For a list of participating organizations, visit the AECF website.