Youth Employment Coalition
The Youth Employment Coalition was developed to create a coordinated approach for youths ages 16–24 to access career pathways leading to family-sustaining jobs.
With Buffalo finally growing again and prosperity on the horizon, there’s never been a better moment to double down on our region’s future – our young people. We must invest in their talent and potential or we risk losing them to other cities where they can find ready-made opportunities to apply their ambition and strength.
In 2020, the Roundtable added youth employment as a new initiative. A coalition of more than 50 partners – including government organizations, nonprofits and businesses – was convened to focus on creating a coordinated approach for youth ages 16–24 to access career pathways leading to family-sustaining jobs. This work, grounded in data and the voice of youth, will engage employers.
In partnership with the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Say Yes Buffalo, the John R. Oishei Foundation and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, an advisory group was initiated to strengthen the employment outcomes for youth in our area. In the fall of 2021, the community foundation mapped current education and career preparation programs. The mapping provided a snapshot of system offerings and detailed information to populate a database to support advising and referral work for a planned career hub and associated website.
Our young people are creative, tech-savvy and passionate about the environment. And their entrepreneurial spirits are key to driving the economic engine of Buffalo’s future forward. Our businesses, our industries and our institutions need their talents to grow and prosper.
In January 2023, the Buffalo Futures digital platform and physical hub will launch, offering a first-of-its-kind tool for the Buffalo community.
The Buffalo Futures digital platform expands access to identified high-demand family-sustaining opportunities to the entire Buffalo community. Moreover, the platform serves as a resource for success coaches and advisors to connect virtually with clients and to network between organizations and training providers. The Buffalo Futures digital platform offers pragmatic opportunities – identifying jobs that are available now, require minimal training and are fast tracks to family-sustaining wages.
In fall of 2022, CareerWise Greater Buffalo was launched under the leadership of Say Yes Buffalo to create apprenticeship opportunities for aspiring young professionals.
Students are hired by employers for modern occupational fields such as IT, financial services and more. During the multiyear program, apprentices are trained alongside seasoned professionals doing meaningful, valuable work.
In the end, apprentices are ready to step into full-time roles in in-demand, high-growth positions – creating options for students and a new, diverse talent pipeline for employers.