Too many postsecondary students drop out or graduate from college in debt and struggling to find good jobs. Incorporating the experiences, needs, and goals of young people is vital to the success of advocacy efforts and programs designed to create opportunity for youth. Schools, community-based organizations, work investment boards, and other stakeholders can collaborate to implement consistent, data-driven processes for exploring career pathways that are relevant and attainable for young people living in a variety of socioeconomic contexts. Ensuring that youth voice and participation are part of collaborative and planning efforts between schools, postsecondary programs, and industry employers can lead to partnerships that provide localized, sustainable access to in-demand, and livable wage jobs for youth.
This mini-roundtable was facilitated by Carrington Moore, who previously served as the High School to Career Manager for DSNI as well as the liaison and facilitator for the partnership between the Youth Voice Project (YVP), Jobs for the Future, and DSNI; four Peer Leaders from the YVP: Shayla Fonfield, Amanda Shabowich, Shannon Simpson, and Katryana Tovar; and three community partners engaged with the YVP: Kristin McSwain, Executive Director of Boston Opportunity Agenda, Erve Niclas, Youth Council of Boston Youth Service Network, and Rob Surrat, Postsecondary Employer Account Manager of Boston Private Industry Council.
Youth Voice Project Presentation: Peer Leaders kicked off this roundtable session with a presentation of the Youth Voice Project. Participants learned about the mission and goals of YVP as well as its role in establishing viable pathways for youth success. Presenters discussed the implementation of YVP as a means of expanding pathways for Boston’s youth through key partnerships, including The Connection Center, Best Bet, Success Boston, and Single Stop USA. The group identified three key barriers to success for the project, which were housing instability, financial literacy, and clarity around pathway options.