YouthForceNOLA is an education, business, and civic collaborative that prepares New Orleans public school students for the successful pursuit of high-wage, high-demand career pathways and facilitates systems change to ensure equitable outcomes.
What challenge is this solution working to address?
As a whole, America’s public high schools do not effectively prepare students for post- secondary career success. In Failure to Launch, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce reported that the national employment rate for young adults dropped by 12 percent in the 12 years from 2000 to 2012, reaching the lowest point since 1972. The report called for a redesign of career and technical education and workforce preparation to more effectively prepare high school graduates – particularly African American students – for employment on high-wage, high-demand career paths.
YouthForce NOLA is an education, business, and civic collaborative that prepares New Orleans public school students for the successful pursuit of high-wage, high-demand career pathways. Through our network of partner schools (open-enrollment, public high schools), employers, training providers, and community organizations, YouthForce offers high school students expanded coursework offerings, career experiences, soft skills training, and employer-validated credentials. Our vision is that all New Orleans public-school graduates will thrive economically, and be the most sought-after talent for hiring and advancement in the region’s high-wage, high-growth industries. From our discussions with thought partners, YouthForce NOLA is unique in the United States on two, key dimensions: 1) All but one school in our network is an autonomous charter school, and therefore there is no district central office coordinating or mandating program participation by certain schools – all are truly at the table by choice, and 2) this effort is very much shared and delivered collaboratively, not just by those with YouthForce email addresses.
This Solution Is Agile Because…
It focuses on building students technical skills and pathways within in-demand career clusters while supporting the development of the soft skills necessary for success.