Rachel McBrideSenior Youth Staff Member
The YES! For Equity team has been picking up steam in the New Year while continuing their efforts from 2022. Current grant work includes oral health equity, transportation equity, and the Just Youth Circle, which is full steam ahead.
One project in particular, namely CareerReady ATL, has been making great strides regarding research and relationship catalyzing.
CareerReady ATL is grant work done in partnership with the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Kinetic West, and other stakeholders in order to improve outcomes for disinvested youth in the Atlanta and Greater Atlanta region. CareerReady ATL is an effort to scale and sustain youth apprenticeship opportunities in the Greater Atlanta region* as a model for Georgia. We envision a Youth Apprenticeship System focused on Black, Hispanic and other youth of color furthest from opportunity that ensures they have multiple pathways to economic well-being and self-sufficiency, and develops the regional talent pipeline to meet the needs of industry.
In order to create these outcomes, we devised a multi-step research plan to gather information about already existing youth apprenticeship programs. This plan included a landscape analysis, interviewing key informants, and interviewing youth/conducting focus groups with youth. We have largely completed the landscape analysis, key informant interviews, and are currently conducting in-person and virtual focus groups with youth aged 16-24.
Some of our key findings from the interview and landscape analysis processes include but are not limited to:
● Focus on finding and recruiting employers first! (they have to figure out how to budget and who’s going to mentor students)
● Apprenticeship consultants are a key way to maintain year-round relationships with employers
● Having “checkpoints” throughout apprenticeship programs helps retention
● Students are attracted to the possibility of multiple outcomes when considering apprenticeships
Throughout our time spent partnered with the United Way, we also were able to develop a set of youth power building recommendations for CareerReady ATL.
Road Map to Sustained Youth Power Building For CareerReady ATL
Youth from Black and historically marginalized groups should be in involved in all phases of the Apprenticeship Program development process:
Planning & Design
✓ Continue to work with YES! For Equity and other partners to develop a vision for youth power building for CareerReady ATL
✓ Recruit, identify and onboard a paid youth leader team (YLT) to co-develop and support the program’s youth power building vision
● Co-Develop with YLT a set of core values for the program
● Select and train strong adult allies to work with and coach youth
● Co-Design Apprenticeship Partner selection criteria, onboarding process, and training opportunities rooted in equitable principles (including implicit bias).
● Select and train Apprenticeship Providers who have a strong equity focus or are willing to be trained
● Secure appropriate resources, tools and support for the YLT and the program’s youth participants
● Establish a joint adult-youth CareerReady ATL governance board (possibly made up of members of the YLT) to provide insights and guidance on the appropriate equitable policies
● Recruit young board members by using equity recruitment methods
● Secure appropriate resources, tools and support for the work of the board members
● Continue to build the critical awareness and skill capacities of youth and adult ally board members
● Continuously have youth lean into youth apprenticeships social innovation – Try, fail, learn
● Initiate youth-led piloting and delivery of the program activities, youth apprenticeship provider engagement and training.
● Encourage local, youth advocacy, and elevate youth voices on youth apprenticeship issues at the local, state and national level.
● The YLT monitor the continued relevance and effectiveness of resources and youth capacities
● Practice youth-centered adaptive programming that takes in account the needs of ALL youth and advances equity
● Document youth apprenticeship improvements that may be linked to youth-led monitoring efforts
● Prepare and launch a youth-led youth apprenticeship evaluation
● Support youth chronicling lessons learned, recognize, showcase and celebrate success stories
● Assess the youth power building experience of the youth apprenticeship provider
● Prepare to institutionalize and scale up youth power building in youth apprenticeship practices and policies.
Adapted from A Roadmap For Promoting Meaningful Youth Engagement in Youth Employment Programs developed by the Youth Employment Funders Group and the Citi Foundation
As we gear up for our in-person focus group, we’re very excited to begin compiling and finalizing our data for CareerReady ATL!