More than 40 people attended the 2nd Annual Youth Employment Community Capacity Building Event on June 16 at the Lincoln Community Foundation. Together, the group spent the day taking an honest look at the successes, barriers, and possibilities surrounding employment and employment retention for unconnected youth.
Organized by the Lincoln Education/Employment Committee and facilitated by CommonAction Consulting, the work of the day built on the previous year’s event, which laid out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of our system of support for young people around employment. Recognizing that human services support agencies could not address the issue of youth employment alone, the group brought business and human resource representatives to the table, along with youth themselves, for this new discussion to determine how the community can work together.
Collaboration is key
Prosper Lincoln Employment Skills Developer Bryan Seck called the group to action and collaboration and facilitated a panel of employers to highlight the perspective of the business world. Sharing this perspective not only showcased the efforts of employers in Lincoln but served to begin an open and focused dialogue between businesses and those who may have a better understanding of the barriers faced by unconnected youth. The group had honest conversations about how simple things like having the correct legal documentation can be a significant barrier to employment for unconnected youth. These discussions helped move the effort forward, with business and human services agencies outlining ways to support one another on behalf of the youth.
Building on these informative conversations, the group worked together across systems to identify specific next steps, lay out tasks to accomplish these steps, and hold each other accountable by determining dates for completion. These next steps, tasks, and action dates will be taken to the Lincoln Transition Team and Education/Employment Committee to be carried out over the next year. Business and human resource representatives have joined these teams to continue the partnership across systems.
Although we don’t yet have the perfect solution for helping unconnected youth find employment success, the connections made across systems and the shared dedication to these young people and to improving Lincoln’s workforce allowed the Lincoln community to take a significant step forward toward the greater good.
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