Economic Opportunity

Published on September 8, 2016 | Written by

Minnesota’s youth unemployment rate is 11% for all youth, and over double that for youth from communities of color

Creating access to economic opportunities for young people is a key part of ensuring the long-term success of youth and communities in Minnesota. Beyond providing youth with engaging and high quality out-of-school time programming, workforce development and entrepreneurship training for youth is critical. As an intermediary, Youthprise is uniquely positioned to partner with cross-sector partners in the area of Economic Opportunity.

In 2015 Youthprise secured funding from state and federal agencies to increase employment opportunities for young people across Minnesota. Opportunity Reboot is one example. Funded by a federal grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, Youthprise was awarded a $3 million Social Innovation Fund grant over three years. Matched with local funds, grants were made to six organizations to increase career pathways for opportunity youth in Minnesota.

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Grantees are in the Twin Cities (Migizi Communications, Wilder Foundation, GAP) and greater Minnesota (SOAR, Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, and Sauk Rapids School District). Staying true to our cross-sector approach, Opportunity Reboot is a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Search Institute and the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota.

Another example of our work in Economic Opportunity is our partnership with DEED to increase career pathways for East African youth. The East African Youth @ Work initiative is multi-institutional and culturally relevant, and includes family, faith- and community-based organizations, schools and the private sector. The aim is to address the urgent employment and economic needs of Minnesota’s East African immigrant community. In partnership with Islamic Civic Society, Ka Joog and New American Academy, Youthprise is providing support to build their capacity to improve employment outcomes among Somali youth.

Both initiatives under Economic Opportunity use Youthprise’s racial equity lens to increase opportunities for young people who are the most impacted by our state’s disparities. We know that in order to ensure that all Minnesota youth thrive, a holistic approach to offering engaging OST programming that prepares young people for a bright future is necessary.

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