Connecting Youth to School and Jobs
As part of our work advocating for children and youth in Westchester County, we lead a Connecting Youth workgroup focused on reengaging what are called “disconnected youth.” These are young people ages 16 to 24 who are neither in school nor working, which leaves them vulnerable as they transition from youth to adulthood.
Recently, a major project for the Connecting Youth workgroup has been strengthening employment opportunities for young people in Westchester. Last year, the workgroup worked with Westchester County to improve their summer jobs program. As a result, 50+ current or former foster youth gained positive work experience. Take a look at Jordan’s story on page 5 of our Annual Report to see what an impact these improvements had on youths’ lives.
Investing in the Future Workforce
This year, we’re continuing this work by promoting awareness of just how important that first summer job or internship is for youth. When businesses offer jobs to youth, they’re not just filling their immediate need for summer workers. They’re actually helping to develop and train the future workforce. With many sectors reporting a shortage of qualified workers, we can meet both an economic and a social need by giving youth access to the education, training, and experience that will equip them for future jobs — good news for businesses and for youth!
The youth employment infographic below provides data on some of the challenges facing our young people today — high unemployment rates, low educational levels, and an overall lack of readiness for college and careers. Based on data from the New York State Department of Education, less than half of Westchester’s graduating seniors are academically ready for college or careers.
Yet we’re also excited to highlight some Westchester County programs that are working to connect youth with summer job opportunities. Across the county, many government and nonprofit agencies are teaming up to tackle youth employment, including the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board, the Business Council of Westchester, Westchester County Department of Social Services, Westchester County Department of Parks and Recreation, and New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Download the youth employment infographic, or share it using the social media links at the bottom of this post.
Thank you to the Westchester Community Foundation and the John P. and Constance A. Curran Charitable Foundation for providing major support for this publication.
Thanks also to the following programs, which assist with the Westchester County youth employment programs: City of Peekskill Youth Bureau, City of White Plains Youth Bureau, City of Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, Ser of Westchetser, Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc., Westhab, Inc., The Guidance Center of Westchester, The Children’s Village, The Thomas H. Slater Center, and Town of Greenburgh/Theodore D. Young Community Center.