November 4, 2015 Community

After 500 Job Offers in Phoenix, LA Announced as Next Opportunities Host City

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Strategic Oversight Committee sent the following letter to its members, which details the impact make in Phoenix and next steps to continue the commitment.

On behalf of the newly elected Strategic Oversight Committee for the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, we want to thank everyone for contributing to what was another incredibly successful Job Fair & Forum. Last Friday (10/30) in Phoenix truly was an awe-inspiring day, and we can all be proud of what was accomplished:

  • More than 1,700 young people, mostly Latino and African American, were given a pathway to opportunity via job interviews, access to career resources, resume development, and direct mentoring and coaching.
  • More than 500 immediate job offers were extended by the 25 companies in attendance.

This remarkable effort would not have been possible without the collective partnership of the City of Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona State University, Maricopa Community Colleges, the leadership of the Opportunities for Youth board, the philanthropic community, the hiring companies, and the hundreds of volunteers and community service organizations that took part.

It also was a remarkable day for the City of Phoenix. At the luncheon, Mayor Greg Stanton made that clear when he said that it represented his “best day” as mayor. On behalf of many, we would like to thank Mayor Stanton for his leadership and for being a true partner in this unprecedented effort, which positively affected the lives of hundreds of young people and their families.

For those of you who were not able to join us in Phoenix, we encourage you to watch this video for a glimpse into the experience that we collectively created: 

As we stay the course and continue to invest in the lives of young people in Phoenix, Maricopa County and beyond, the coalition and its community partners will provide ongoing mentorship and encouragement to the 500 youth who received on-the-spot offers, and to the additional 100 who were invited to next-round interviews. Equally important, we will continue to empower those who did not receive a job offer so they may take important next steps, and build on the confidence sparked by the Job Fair & Forum. The “Opportunities for Youth” collaborative in Maricopa County/Phoenix, comprised of more than 120 local agencies, community partners and other key stakeholders, has a plan for direct follow up with the young people who attended. The collaborative will be receiving a grant and technical support from the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and Jobs for the Future this month. Additionally, the Schultz Family Foundation, Arizona Community Foundation, and the Aspen Institute (with help from other national funders) are working collaboratively to determine how to best support comprehensive employer-connected pathways in Phoenix and across Maricopa County.  

A World-Class Partner in Arizona State University

Our hope is that every host city will have a partner like we had in Arizona State University. Under Dr. Michael Crow’s leadership, ASU showed up in full force—ASU’s more than 300 student volunteers worked throughout the day, hosting mock interviews and giving those in attendance invaluable coaching and mentoring.

ASU also has been a strategic partner to our coalition in creating an economic framework that validates the very need to hire and engage this population of Opportunity Youth. You can see more of this research online in a report titled “A Win-Win for Arizona Businesses: Economic Benefits of Hiring Opportunity Youth” at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Among the findings: Nationally, America’s 5.6 million Opportunity Youth have a potential taxpayer burden of $1.56 trillion and an aggregate social burden of $4.75 trillion if they stay unemployed. Data such as this signals the need for a clear call to action and further validates our founding mission.

Next Stop: Los Angeles

With the partnership of the Aspen Institute and the leadership of the Opportunities for Youth leadership board, we will continue our efforts in Phoenix and Chicago with full gusto and conviction. At the same time, we will accelerate our national efforts with additional Opportunity Fairs and Forums. Today, we are pleased to announce that Los Angeles will be the next host city, in early 2016. Los Angeles is a unique market in that 2 in 5 people who are unemployed in LA County are young people with nearly 19% of young people unemployed or absent from the labor force or educational system. Even more disturbing, 23.2% of African American youth and 14.6% of Latino youth are disconnected, representing a significant proportion of the nearly quarter-of-a-million Opportunity Youth in LA County. Work is underway, and we already have full support from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA County Chief Executive Sachi Hamai and their teams.

Welcome Ernst & Young LLP

Our coalition of like-minded companies continues to grow. We are pleased to welcome – Ernst & Young LLP. Through EY’s geographic footprint and commitment to youth employment, the professional services organization is well-positioned to contribute to the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative’s mission. EY already helps young people access higher education, gain work experience, and find employment through its program College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence). Welcome EY. We look forward to announcing even more companies in the weeks and months to come.

Thank you

The convening power of like-minded companies and institutions and elected officials coming together reaffirms our solemn promise to do everything we can to bring Opportunity Youth along, and not let them fall behind. Thank you for your commitment and your continued drive. We look forward to seeing many of you in LA in a few months.

With Great Respect,

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Strategic Oversight Committee

Abbey Carlton, Associate Director, The Rockefeller Foundation

Amy Kavanaugh, Chief Public Affairs Officer, Taco Bell

Blair Taylor, Chief Community Officer, Starbucks

Brynn Evanson, Executive Vice President of HR, JCPenney

Daniel Pitasky, Executive Director, The Schultz Family Foundation

Gayatri Agnew, Director, Career Opportunity, The Walmart Foundation

Katherine Errecart, Director, FSG

Rodney Robbins, Manager of Community Engagement, Villa

Steve Patrick, Executive Director, The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions

Download video here

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