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Strengthening the DC Summer Youth Employment Program, and Paving the Way for Tomorrow’s Workforce

August 17, 2010

By Sarah Oldmixon
Director, Workforce Initiatives
The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

This past Sunday’s Washington Post featured a thoughtful commentary by Martha Ross, Deputy Director of Greater Washington Research at the Brookings Institution, a Community Foundation grantee.   Responding to continued budget overruns and concerns about quality at the DC Summer Youth Employment Program, Ross outlined five concrete strategies to strengthen the program and better serve local youth:

  1. Focus on quality over quantity.
  2. Ensure that every participant has a confirmed job site and high-quality job opportunity.
  3. Match youth to their job sites based on an assessment of their hard and soft skills.
  4. Establish clear standards for youth and job sites, and that both receive orientation, support and oversight throughout the summer.
  5. Make certain that managerial and financial systems are sufficient to handle registration, job site assignment, timekeeping, payroll and troubleshooting.

 

Ross has focused extensively on youth workforce development issues for the past year, thanks in large part to a grant from an anonymous donor at The Community Foundation.  With our support, Greater Washington Research at Brookings and its research partners – the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and the Center for Law and Social Policy – are currently working on a detailed analysis of year-round workforce programs for youth and young adults. Their analysis will be published in fall 2010.

Improving the quality and capacity of local workforce development programs is a priority for The Community Foundation and we’ve worked hard to develop new resources to support this work.  Since 2007, investments made by the Community Foundation-led Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative (GWWDC),  as well as our individual and corporate donors, have helped to leverage significant new resources for workforce development in our region, including:

  • $1.2 million in local philanthropic support for GWWDC’s workforce development efforts;
  • $450,000 in matching funds from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions; and
  • $10.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“stimulus package”) funds secured by Community Foundation grantees and other local organizations with our assistance.

 

That’s nearly $30 in leveraged funds for every $1 invested by The Community Foundation and our donors!

Learn more about how you can support high-quality workforce development programs and policy initiatives in Metropolitan Washington by contacting Sarah Oldmixon, Director of Workforce Initiatives, at (202) 973-2519 or soldmixon@cfncr.org.

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