WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today released a white paper titled, “Making Youth Employment Work: Essential Elements for a Successful Strategy,” at the National Opportunity Summit. The paper, developed in collaboration with The Bridgespan Group, provides employers with strategies on how to forge new and customized pathways for developing young talent as part of their overall business strategy.
“Whether by creating a robust talent pipeline, filling critical skill gaps, increasing workforce diversity, or spurring innovation, young adults provide businesses with lasting benefits,” said Cheryl Oldham, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce. “This report provides the business community with concrete approaches to employing youth as a competitive advantage.”
Forty percent of U.S. employers report a struggle to fill more than 5 million open jobs, even at a time when 6 million young adults are neither working or in school. For the business community, this report highlights actionable ideas as part of an overall talent strategy to help close this skills gap. This includes creating company-led, internal programs or strategically partnering with nonprofits and external organizations that train talent tailored to specific business goals. The report also provides examples of successful youth onboarding programs by companies like Caterpillar Inc., Wegmans, Permac, and VARCom.
“Historically, companies’ involvement with youth talent meant hiring more interns or engaging in more corporate citizenship activities,” said Oldham. “Any effort to improve employment opportunities for youth—while closing the skills gap—must focus on employer needs and address entry-level workforce opportunities.”
The National Opportunity Summit, hosted by Opportunity Nation and co-conveners U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Business Roundtable, Jobs for America’s Graduates and United Way Worldwide, brought together a diverse group of businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations to address the urgent issues of youth employment, skills training, meaningful education, and career pathways at both the state and federal levels.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.