California Employer Association Launches Youth Employment Network
According to the Public Policy Institute of California’s report, Closing the Gap: Meeting California's Need for College Graduates, only 40% of California’s 2.2 million young adults hold an associate’s degree or higher, and many lack skills needed to succeed in college or the workforce. By 2025, California will need an additional 1 million career-ready college graduates to meet employer’s needs. This posed a drastic problem to California’s workforce needs, spurring the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) and the Linked Learning Alliance to look for a solution to this serious lack of work-ready young adults.
This month, with the support of a $544,425 grant from the California Workforce Development Board’s Workforce Accelerator Fund, CalChamber and the Linked Learning Alliance launched a work-based learning program, designed to increase youth opportunities and employment.
Loren Kaye, the President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education credits the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management program as an inspiration to build this coalition-led program.
Work-based learning allows students to build skills needed for 21st century careers, expand their professional network, and strengthen their resumes and college application. Knowing exactly how one’s in-class learning experiences are relevant to real-world professions empowers young adults and encourages them to seek out additional learning experiences.
Christopher Cabaldon, president of the Linked Learning Alliance, points to current research that show Linked Learning students have “higher rates of engagement and higher graduation rates than their peers at traditional high schools." He stresses how crucial collaboration with strong business partners is to student success. He touts an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to work-based learning programs.
The local chambers involved in this effort are the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, Fresno Chamber of Commerce, and Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
These local chambers, alongside the CalChamber and Linked Learning Alliance, will work on creating programs to fit region-specific needs while focusing on impacting youth unemployment and workforce development. Best practices, testimony from experts and field leaders, resources, and supportive materials will be shared through webinars and group communications.
The California Chamber of Commerce is part of USCCF's Making Youth Employment Work network. Learn more here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennie Kim is an undergraduate student at the University of Notre Dame and an intern with USCCF's Center for Education and Workforce.