News Article

PYN News Article

The Heller School's Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis University and the Walmart Foundation grant $225,000 to Philadelphia to support WorkReady Summer 2013

Category: WorkReady | Jul 30, 2013

Philadelphia - Today, the Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc. (PYN) announced it is a recipient of a $225,000 grant as part of the 2013 Summer Youth Employability Initiative funded by The Walmart Foundation and managed by The Heller School's Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis University. This grant is being used to fund 150 paid, educationally-enriched summer work experiences for youth, aged 16-22, with a special emphasis on those who are involved in Philadelphia's foster-care and juvenile-justice systems. This is the second summer that the Walmart Foundation has supported youth opportunities offered under the umbrella of WorkReady Philadelphia.

"We are honored that the Walmart Foundation Summer Youth Employability Initiative has invested in Philadelphia's youth again this year. These funds have contributed to the city's ability to create 7,600 opportunities through WorkReady summer programming. These experiences are more than just summer jobs for our young participants; they offer critical opportunities for youth to gain valuable skills and make connections that position them for success both academically and professionally," said Stacy E. Holland, President and CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN).

This grant is part of a $2.5M investment the Walmart Foundation is making to support competency-based summer jobs that integrate work and learning for 1,200 vulnerable youth in seven communities across the country: Chicago, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix/Maricopa County, and San Diego. The Center for Youth and Communities of the Heller School at Brandeis University is serving as the National Program Office for this initiative, providing technical assistance to grantees, monitoring and evaluating the quality and impact of programs and fostering a national dialogue on youth employability.

Professor Susan P. Curnan, Director of the Center for Youth and Communities and study leader for many summer youth initiatives, underscores the power of a competency-based approach to youth employability development: "We describe our approach to the summer program as '100% work, 100% learning.'  Summers matter - over the long term, youth who participate in year-round programs or multiple summer experiences intentionally combining work, learning, and support can improve educational outcomes, are less likely to drop out, have less difficulty getting and keeping jobs, and have higher lifelong earnings than those who do not."

Statistics underscore the urgency of investing in youth workforce development. Nationwide, the summer employment rate for 16-19 year olds fell from 51.7% in 2000 to about 33% in 2012 - a low not seen in more than 50 years. At the same time, employers cannot find enough workers with demonstrated workplace competencies to meet job demands. Providing access to high-quality, career-connected experiences that grow the skills of our emerging professionals is mission-critical.

"At Walmart, we recognize the need to support the next generation of our nation's workforce," said Julie Gehrki, Senior Director of the Walmart Foundation. "By working closely with the Heller School's Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis University, we are able to help provide youth access to job opportunities and skills training during the summer months so they can return to school more prepared for the future."


About WorkReady Philadelphia
WorkReady Philadelphia is the city's workforce-preparation system for youth and young adults, supported by investments from government, local and national philanthropies, and Greater Philadelphia employers. WorkReady is overseen by the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, a committee of the Philadelphia Works board. Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) serves as the managing partner and works with over 50 organizations to operate WorkReady programs across the city. To learn more about WorkReady summer 2013 programs, click here.

About the Center for Youth and Communities Making Knowledge Productive for 30 Years at The Heller School, Brandeis University
Within the Heller School's mission of "knowledge advancing social justice," the Center's objective is to "make knowledge productive" and help practitioners and policy makers prepare young people for college, work and life.  The work is guided by three goals:  1) using science-based research to improve the quality and impact of programs and policies for youth and communities;  2) strengthening leadership and management in philanthropy, nonprofits and socially responsible businesses;  3) applying results-oriented leadership and evaluation methods to deepen public understanding, strengthen programs, prove the efficacy of particular models and shape policies.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief and Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women's Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than one billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart's giving, click here.

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