Houston joins five other U.S cities to receive an award of $150,000 to promote equitable career opportunities for youth in marginalized communities.
This is part of the National League of Cities’ (NLC) new initiative to make economic opportunities and quality education a reality for youth and young adults. Houston will receive specialized assistance from NLC’s staff and nation experts to advance the city’s efforts to expand STEM career pathways.
“This award is a big win for young people. They will benefit from significant career development opportunities made possible by this grant,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner in an official statement. “These are children who would otherwise go without, now having experiences and connections they never thought possible. I commend the National League of Cities for their continued commitment to the future leaders of this country.”
According to data from the National Student Clearinghouse, more than one million fewer students are enrolled in college now than before the pandemic began two years ago. U.S colleges and universities saw a drop of nearly 500,000 undergraduate students in the fall of 2021.
Since the Great Recession, nearly 95 percent of new jobs went to workers with some college education and with students graduating from high school between 2020 and 2021, the likelihood of youth pursuing a college degree decreased 23 percent between May 2020 and September 2021.
The Mayor’s Office of Education is looking to target support from the Hire Houston Youth (HHY) program. Since 2016, HHY has impacted the lives of more than 30,000 Houstonians by connecting students to job opportunities in the Houston market. They’ve partnered with 204 corporate and non-profit partners to advance their skills, explore career interests, and empower them financially.
“We are focusing on youth who are very hard to reach. We are digging deeper. We are going into communities that have low bandwidth of internet service, we connect within churches, schools and the foster care system, said Olivera Jankovska, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Education. “We explain to the employers that this program is not regular. These youth have additional barriers to overcome and these opportunities will give them an advantage.”
Youth between the ages 16-24 or employers willing to participate can visit Hire Houston Youth.