As part of its Thrive by 25® commitment to investing in the well-being and success of young people ages 14 through 24, the Annie E. Casey Foundation is launching multiyear partnerships with organizations in Atlanta; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Baltimore. The three organizations lead comprehensive local efforts already underway to advance opportunities for young people to build skills and enter the workforce while developing their leadership and supporting their basic needs and relationships with family and mentors.

Providing both grants and expertise, Casey will work with the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Future Focused Education, an internship and work-based learning organization in Albuquerque; and with Baltimore’s Promise, a citywide collaborative composed of public, business, higher education, nonprofit, community and philanthropic leaders.

“The Foundation’s investments and technical assistance will expand capacity for these locally-driven efforts to build opportunities for large groups of youth and young adults across these communities and regions — all places where Casey has long invested with many partners and will continue to invest in the well-being of children and youth of all ages, families and communities,” said Tomi Hiers, vice president of the Foundation’s Center for Civic Sites and Community Change.

Baltimore, the Foundation’s hometown, and Atlanta, home to UPS, are the Foundation’s civic sites — communities where the Foundation has hometown ties and introduces innovative strategies that integrate the best programs and promising approaches for serving children and their families. New Mexico has been home to sites participating in JDAI®, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative®, Thriving Families for Safer Children and Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP)™, as well as the Albuquerque Justice for Youth Community Collaborative, which brings together more than 20 Albuquerque community-based organizations in a multi-year effort to ensure all young people are healthy and thriving.


United Way of Greater Atlanta: Creating Apprenticeships While Supporting Basic Needs

United Way of Greater Atlanta is committed to improving well-being for Atlanta’s children and young people, especially the nearly 500,000 children and youth in Greater Atlanta who lack access to the basic opportunities and resources they need to thrive.

Casey will support UWGA’s work through two main strategies:

  • CareerReady ATL, a new effort to demonstrate and expand apprenticeship opportunities in the Greater Atlanta region that focuses on young people of color who are furthest from opportunity and ensures they have multiple pathways to economic well-being and self-sufficiency; and
  • Grant funding and coordination with partners in the areas of academic support, pathways to careers, college planning, secure housing and basic needs

Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI) will further UWGA’s strategies by engaging young people, educators, employers and other partners.

To learn more about Thrive by 25, click here.

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Atlanta has a strong and diverse business sector, many post-secondary educational institutions, first-rate nonprofits, and a civil rights legacy that has grown into a movement ─ all of which have elevated our status to one of national recognition of activism and change. And yet, structural inequities born of racism create conditions that all too often entrench youth and young adults in cycles of poverty. Atlanta is ranked number one in economic inequality, a dynamic that fuels enormous economic and human negative repercussions for our city and the ability to realize our young people’s greatest potential.

At the United Way of Greater Atlanta, we’re committed to ensuring young adults have the tools to build a brighter future. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 65 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. Education and training programs can help young people gain these skills. Work-based learning programs can teach non-cognitive skills, provide valuable guidance and effective interventions to help establish core work-related skills. To date, we have connected over 10,000 youth to education and employment opportunities.

Now, we’re turning the tide and working to become a national model for how best to drive transformational change in addressing the multi-layered issue of youth employment. United Way has a vision to build out a Youth Apprenticeship System called CareerReady ATL focused on creating multiple pathways to economic well-being for Black, Hispanic and other youth of color and developing the talent pipeline to meet the needs of our diverse industries. And we know this initiative is necessary – based on our Child Well-Being Index, a young person’s zip code is a greater predictor of our children’s future achievements, earnings, and life expectancy than their talent, hard work, or other factors. Our goal is to create 4,000 high-quality Youth Apprenticeship opportunities within the Greater Atlanta region.

Our efforts are intentionally building programs that reach into our schools and create pipelines to good jobs through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs connected to high demand industries that pay family sustaining wages. We are building a comprehensive workforce development initiative that will create sustainable career pathways with youth at the center. “The COVID pandemic has changed the game all the way around, from the way that we do work, to the way that we provide youth development services, including the way that we do apprenticeships. It gave us a social impetus and a drive to be able to look at marginalized youth, those furthest from opportunity, to have the networks to help support their success and progression into a career”, according to John Helton, Executive Director of Atlanta CareerRise and a close partner with United Way in the youth apprenticeship space. “The pandemic has created a drive and awareness and willingness to energize resources around this group of youth.”

This is a pivotal moment for positive impact of the future economic and community well-being in metro-Atlanta through changing the trajectory for youth and young adults. So, they choose the future they want to see for themselves and their community.

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