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Ten cities meet to map jobs future for youth.

Recognizing that job readiness is parallel to and as important as learning readiness, local officials from 10 cities met in Cambridge, Mass. to define ways cities can prepare young adults for tomorrow's labor force in today's economic climate.

The meeting was the latest in NLC's series of roundtable meetings on ways to help communities' youth. Developed by NLC to help cities explore new ways for becoming advocates for issues that directly affect children and families, the roundtable brings together "terms" of officials from various communities to share information, clarify the local government role and foster bold new action plans for implementation.

Cambridge officials, led by Mayor Ken Reeves and Councilman Jonathan Myers hosted the largest gathering ever to attend an NLC roundtable, October 4 and 5. The theme was "Collaboration and Coordination for Youth Employment and Community Service: Strategies That Work".

The participants included local elected officials, educators, city administrators, business leaders, a student and local community organizations.

Led by Daryl Hardy, deputy director of Employment and Training for the D.C. Department of Employment Services and Keith Canty, executive director of the D.C. Services Corps, 47 local leaders met in large groups, small groups, and in one on one meetings with consultants.

The Outcomes

Community leaders left Cambridge armed with exciting new approaches and workable solutions for their community's youth employment and community service agenda.

Cambridge, Mass.

Cambridge is developing a comprehensive assessment of its youth employment and youth services needs.

Mayor Reeves and Councilman Myers are spearheading an effort to develop plans for year round youth employment initiatives. The two also are planning strategies for reaching out to their high school dropout population as well as drafting new youth services policy based on an analysis of city, state and not-for-profit initiatives.

Orlando, Fla.

Orlando, Florida's team came to the roundtable with a vision to design a means by which, the youth employment system could be linked to existing agencies and networks.

They developed strategies to write an action plan to be presented and reviewed by the key players in the Orlando community; convene a meeting to include their city's mayor, county chairman, superintendent of schools, PIC Executive Director, compact board, Department of Employment Services and the Department of Labor.

The Orlando team also plans to survey youth and the providers of youth services and provide training sessions similar to NLC's roundtable to eliminate some of the barriers that exist among the different providers of youth services.

Muskogee, Okla.

Muskogee, Okla. created a youth employment program which will operate out of the Mayor's office. Mayor Kathy Hewitt said since her municipality is relatively debt free, that the city will make the initial monetary appropriation.

The Muskogee team noted that their community wants a strong youth population, the corporations want a good employee base, and the schools wants to keep kids in the classroom and get them involved. The Mayor concluded that her city's team liked the idea of utilizing the "C-Cube" theory (community, classroom, corporation) to provide opportunities for youth.

Lynwood, California

Lynwood, California's team redefined its mission and developed a new set of goals to be implemented upon their return. They said their mission is to create a well qualified, motivated workforce, with a sufficient number of employment opportunities."

Next they listed their goals which included: establishing an office of youth employment which would offer independent skills training programs; making available job readiness counseling services; and cultivating jobs for every youth who wants to work.

Additional goals included the establishment of bulletin boards to facilitate communication with the city's youth; developing a youth employment brochure or catalogue; and creating programs to help 200 "hard core at-risk" youth and 500 college bound students.

Springfield, Mass.

The team from Springfield, Mass. came to the roudtable to gain insights from other cities on how best to attack the problems of their city; high dropout rates, youth violence, youth pregnancy and youth crime.

The goals they developed included: creating a mission statement; acquiring the support of the mayor and promoting interdepartmental collaboration among the various groups that support youth services in Springfield; and designing a data collection system to be shared by the various department.

New York, N.Y. and Philadelphia, Pa.

New York and Philadelphia viewed the roundtable experience as a way to move forward and strengthen their youth initiatives and other related efforts.

They developed plans to: meet with their respective officials of Health and Human Services in order to develop plans for convening an initial meeting with a large contingency of youth service providers; continue to promote ventures between the public and private sectors; and continue to explore better grant making assistance, to provide more training and technical assistance.

East Orange, N.J

East Orange, N.J. drafted a statement of interest, made a list of objectives, another list of potential barriers and roadblocks, and a corresponding list of solutions.

They noted that having taken the initial step over the last two years of employing 100 students for eight weeks of full time work in their JOBS 100 Program that they were ready to move on to the second phase. This phase included extending the JOBS Programs from eight to twelve weeks and finally to a year round effort.

East Orange resolved to hire a grants writer, form an advisory committee in order to plan for a job fair, and involve the mayor's support in linking the advisory committee with the Chamber of Commerce.

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Mass. noted that their community had many obstacles, among them being high unemployment, no major companies or industries, homeless, and a small government agency with no staff for youth employment.

Keeping in mind their obstacles, the New Bedford team set out through speaking with other cities and meeting in their small group to develop an initial plan that would: create "DO" list to include the need for representation on local boards and committees and establish the need to bring together agencies, churches, social services, government, and educators to address concerns and develop solutions to the crisis in their community;

They also want to develop a relationship with a major corporation, involve the citizens of New Bedford, and create a mechanism for developing grants.

Atlanta, Ga.

Atlanta's team decided they needed to further refine current strategies already in operation. These strategies included working with students in terms of establishing future education and career goals, as well as working with youth who lack a clear sense of purpose and life-long development.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kelsey, Serita R.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Oct 19, 1992
Previous Article:Education Secretary invites cities to join America 2000.
Next Article:Columbus, Ohio launches Environmental Science Advisory Committee.

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