Monday, August 3, 2015

JobsFirstNYC Proposal: A Network of Youth Opportunities Centers

One year ago, JobsFirstNYC issued Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent, our call to action on four strategies to move young adults into jobs. 

Today, we are issuing a concept paper on one of our key recommendations, Opportunity Centers.  A network of Opportunity Centers in the 18 communities that are home to more than half of the city’s OSOW (out-of-school, out-of-work) young adults could enable New York City to help 20,000 obtain paid employment, internships or apprenticeships within five years, re-enroll 20 percent of recent dropouts into a high school diploma granting program, and reduce recidivism for at least 1,000 young adults with criminal justice histories.

Modeled on YouthSource Centers in Los Angeles and The SOURCE in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Opportunity Centers would provide comprehensive and sustained services that can help young adults advance in jobs and build careers. Centers would continue to provide services after placement, providing a valuable resource to employers and young adults alike.


Much as New York City's Workforce1 Career Center system combines government money with the expertise of workforce providers to assist older job seekers, the Opportunity Centers could leverage diverse resources to offer the following services specifically targeted to OSOW youth:
  • Screening and assessment of academic proficiency and work skills
  • Placement in jobs, internships, and other work experiences, including those developed through sectoral and neighborhood employment partnerships
  • Assistance in setting and achieving educational goals
  • Career counseling and work coaching
  • Building physical and mental health
  • Computer and financial literacy
  • Referrals for housing, healthcare, child care and other services
  • Referrals to training & post-secondary education

To read more about JobsFirstNYC's Opportunity Center concept, click here.

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