Case Studies

There are many national nonprofit organizations, thought leaders, and community-based programs who are seeking opportunities to collaboratively identify and implement solutions. Below is a repository of best practices and active partnerships for businesses and communities looking to build a robust youth talent pipeline.

Business-led Collaboration with Higher Education: The Answer to Sustained Success?

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing and in-demand industries across the nation. In response leading global security corporation Northrop Grumman has strategically aligned its philanthropic efforts with its core business needs to address the shortage of cyber workers. Through a partnership with the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), Northrop Grumman went directly to the source to fix its cybersecurity needs, creating the nation’s first cybersecurity honors program for undergraduate students.

Hillside Encourages Academic Achievement and Community Partnerships

Wegmans Food Markets founded the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (Hillside) in 1987 to address employee turnover and support at-risk youth in the community at a time when upstate New York’s high school dropout rate was increasing. Now serving grades 7–12 in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Prince George’s County schools in Maryland, Hillside engages youth one-on-one to ensure success in academics and work.

Investor Dramatically Improves the Workforce

Starbucks has proved to be a leader in the youth employment space through its LeadersUp program. Six million youth ages 16 to 24, also known as opportunity youth, are neither employed nor in school, and 5 million job vacancies exist throughout the United States. Starbucks and LeadersUp recognize this crisis and are working to bridge the growing skills gap in America by connecting the next generation of workers with employment opportunities. LeadersUp aims to provide businesses with highly trained employees by connecting companies with local workforce partners. Its first partnership was with the company SK Food Group and the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC).

University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection

For many organizations, scaling a youth employment initiative involves many of the same essential elements as beginning one. Such was the case for the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). In the late 2000s, Suzanne M. Piotrowski, M.D., a leading youth employment champion for URMC, wanted to expand the number of students employed through the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. Hillside, a nonprofit that works with at-risk students to boost graduation rates in the Rochester area, also provides intensive soft skills and career training to help these students become work ready. URMC had been orchestrating the employment of about two to three of these high school students each year since 2003—albeit in limited roles. But Piotrowski knew that the medical center’s youth employment initiative had potential to grow. The youth champion set to work.

Per Scholas Trains the IT Workforce of the Future

Over the past decade, the United States has seen a large increase in the number of information technology (IT) sector jobs. However, as in other industry sectors, the skills gap also affects IT. Nonprofit organization Per Scholas is closing the IT skills gap by providing a skills-based education combined with industry feedback. Originating as a bridge to the digital world for local communities, Per Scholas has become a leader in national workforce development.

Power in Partnership: PERMAC Industries Collaborates to Close the Skills Gap

A study released in 2011 by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that more than 80% of manufacturers report they cannot find employees to fill their skilled production jobs. Darlene Miller, president and CEO of Permac Industries, understands; the skills gap exacts a heavy price on small businesses like hers. Every employee who runs the precision manufacturing company’s sophisticated equipment serves a critical role in Permac’s continued competitiveness. So how do you find the talent you need without the internal capacity to meet all your training needs? Miller, who also serves on the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and co-chairs the High Tech Education Subcommittee, knows that power lies in partnership.

State Street and Year Up Partner for Mutual Success

Founded in 1792 and headquartered in Boston, State Street Corporation is the second-oldest financial institution in the United States and a leader in the industry. But like many companies, State Street faced an entry-level talent shortage. Enter Year Up, a nonprofit that sets underserved young adults on the road to career and financial success through training and job experience opportunities. Specifically, Year Up helps companies fill skills gaps in IT, finance and operations, sales and marketing, customer service, and custom solutions. State Street, which was familiar with Year Up’s impressive work as a corporate donor, decided to create a more strategic partnership with the nonprofit to expand its candidate pool and to capitalize on the nonprofit partner’s expertise.

Utilizing Workforce Intermediaries for Soft Skills Development: The Urban Alliance program model

Forty-six percent of new workers fail in the first year and-a-half and for 89% of them it’s due to attitude problems. Employers struggle to find young people with soft skills such as punctuality, professionalism, teamwork, and communication. Providing youth with the foundational professional skills that employers need is where organizations like Urban Alliance can bridge pathways and partnerships that are mutually advantageous.