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When our youth lead, communities thrive

By Jaimie Stevens
February 24, 2020

February is Youth Leadership Month, a month dedicated to celebrating young people who take on leadership roles and focused on encouraging those who have not yet done so.

There are many who believe that not enough is being done to prepare young people for the needs of a rapidly changing labor market. Businesses and employers are struggling to find work-ready Americans to fill open, high-quality jobs that are essential for bolstering communities. Simultaneously millions of talented young adults are struggling to find on-ramps to these jobs.

WorkingNation has highlighted two programs that inspire students and encourage them to take on leadership roles in their careers and communities in an effort to solve this problem: HERE to HERE and INROADS.

HERE to HERE, a program based in the Bronx of New York and founded by Abby Jo Sigal and Judy Dimon in 2015, focuses on connecting employers, educators, and community partners to build pathways for 14-25 year old Americans and help businesses find much-needed talent.

HERE to HERE leads its network partners in creating multi-pathways for students to gain job-related and interpersonal skills through classroom-based curriculum, counseling, and employer recognized certifications, internships, and apprenticeships.

Through these training and the program mechanisms, HERE to HERE helps low-income young adults access career pathways, prepare for future employment, and become truly competitive workers in the labor market.

This collaborative approach points young adults of the Bronx in the direction they need to find family-sustaining careers while also providing workers to fill available local positions to secure the community’s economic future.

INROADS, with nearly 50 years of operational experience, places under-served young adults in 12-week paid internships at one of their over 200 partner companies.

Each year, INROADS helps 1,300 undergraduate and high school students across the country gain access to internships at no cost. INROADS partners with over 1,200 schools across the country and 98.9 percent of the students they serve are diverse.

INROADS hopes to one day see corporate talent pipelines mirror the changing American demographics with a more diverse corporate leadership comprised of at least 26 percent diverse populations. According to INROADS, its alumni experience three to four promotions within eight years and approximately 28,000 of INROADS alumni are now VPs, EVPs, CEOs, and other high-earning positions.

Alondra Mercado Rodriguez interned at FJORD in 2018 in New York City through HERE to HERE while attending high school at Bronx International High School. She is now a sophomore at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and is preparing to add a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Communications on top of her current Associate’s Degree in Fashion.

Arun Yagnamurthy interned at Proctor & Gamble in 2018 through INROADS while attending Cornell University. He is now a Strategy and Business Analyst at Deloitte Consulting in New York City.

Both INROADS and HERE to HERE are helping young students to find the type of environment they want to work in while enabling the economies of their communities to thrive, and create leaders such as Alondra and Arun, who set an example for the current and following generations on how to adapt to the future of work.

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