Funding Awarded in Collaboration with JPMorgan Chase and Other Funders

AUSTIN — Eight community grantees, including Austin Opportunity Youth Collaborative through Workforce Solutions Capital Area, will receive grants of up to $300,000 per year under the Building Ecosystems for Youth Opportunity (BEYO) portfolio to support deepening and scaling pathways that improve postsecondary and career success of opportunity youth, while at the same time strengthening local systems to support this population more effectively, thereby expanding economic mobility for low-income young people and significantly reducing the number of opportunity youth in these communities.

The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions (AIFCS), a program of the Aspen Institute, awarded a total of $1.6 million in May. Awardees are innovative community collaboratives that seek to dramatically reduce the number of opportunity youth in communities across the country by scaling evidence-based, high quality pathways to postsecondary completion and careers. AIFCS awarded funds with support from JPMorgan Chase and additional funders, including Prudential Financial and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Opportunity youth is a term used to describe the young people ages 16-24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic there were 24,203 opportunity youth in Austin-Travis County. A disproportionate number of opportunity youth are young people of color. In their 2020 program year, Workforce Solutions Capital Area served 340 youth through the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, connecting them to employment, post-secondary education, internships, job training, and wraparound services to help them succeed in the workforce.

“Access to good career opportunities in young adulthood contributes to economic mobility for many Austinites but remains out of reach for too many youth across the region,” said Yvette Ruiz, Vice President, JPMorgan Chase Community Engagement. “JPMorgan Chase is committed to partnering with Workforce Solutions Capital Area to help underserved people in Austin-Travis County build skills, gain work experience, and develop professional networks that can set them on the path to promising career pathways.”

In the continued role of offering guidance to the region’s future skilled workforce, Workforce Solutions partners with Goodwill Central Texas, American YouthWorks, Capital IDEA, Communities in Schools, Foundation Communities, Lifeworks, Skillpoint Alliance, and Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and an internal team of Career & Education Outreach Specialists.

“Inspiring the next generation of Austin’s workforce to pursue in-demand occupations is an important part of workforce development,” said Tamara Atkinson, chief executive officer at Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “As industries recover, we continue to support our region’s workforce by connecting local people to local jobs.”

This effort builds on the success of the first phase of collaboration between JPMorgan Chase and AIFCS, which included financial support and technical assistance to help 11 cities map local opportunity youth reconnection pathways and design plans for scaling the most promising pathways with potential to reach a large number of youth and young adults not connected to school or work. The total amount of direct community investment for the initiative is $1.6 million.

JPMorgan Chase support for this effort is part of its $350 million, five-year commitment to prepare people for the future of work and builds on collaborations with other organizations like YouthBuild and LeadersUp to connect people who are not in the labor market or education system access the skills they need to access stable career pathways at the workplace of the future.

The effort also incorporates insights from a previous investment from the Ballmer Group Philanthropy and leverages additional investments from Prudential Financial and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to help support the work in Newark, NJ and New Orleans, LA, respectively.

Learn more about the effort and all awardees here.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area Workforce Board is the publicly-funded workforce board for Austin-Travis County. Through strong partnerships and strategic collaborations, Workforce Solutions is leading the region’s workforce system in the development of a world-class workforce.

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