NEW ORLEANS - On December 14, 2017, the New Orleans City Council approved a multi-year Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) between the City of New Orleans and YouthForce NOLA for $1.1 million to place 925 New Orleans students into paid internships through 2020. Scaled over a three-year period, the CEA will support up to 275 interns in 2018, 325 interns in 2019, and 325 interns in 2020. Additionally, CEA will assist YouthForce NOLA in meeting its goal that at least 10 percent of the class of 2020 will complete YouthForce Internships.
"This partnership is an incredible example of meeting youth where they're at with a program that attacks inequity head on. We are a very poor city despite all the money that comes through and the size of some mansions. YouthForce NOLA has a program that provides not just tokens to our young people but actual benefits, crafting a process from start to finish that brings the services and training to them. I am so excited to be part of a process that invests in our youth from the start and puts them in the best posture to obtain a truly rewarding career" said New Orleans City Council President Jason Rogers Williams.
Since 2016, the City has supported YouthForce NOLA to provide internships to students by funding $120,000 in 2016 and $270,000 in 2017. The City has supported YouthForce NOLA in helping 258 students to complete internships, with an additional 47 students currently enrolled.
Over 90 local employers partner with YouthForce NOLA to employ high school students as interns. 96 percent of summer 2017 employers said their intern was adequately prepared, and 89 percent said their high school intern's professionalism was similar or favorable to that of an entry-level employee. 96 percent of interns found the experience rewarding reporting that the training prepared them for their placement. 95 percent of interns said they would recommend the program to other students.
"Since 2010, we have been committed to ensuring that the youth of New Orleans have had access to the best opportunities," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "We are excited to continue our partnership with YouthForce NOLA and look forward to providing students with invaluable work experiences to prepare them for success."
This partnership with YouthForce NOLA is part of the City's broader commitment to youth employment. Since 2010, the City has provided 10,631 jobs to youth through the Summer Youth Employment Program and created summer employment opportunities for over 18,600 youth in the greater New Orleans area through NOLA Youth Works and NORDC teen camps, 98 percent of whom were African American.
"We are pleased to deepen our partnership with the City of New Orleans to give more students the opportunity to participate in paid internships where they will gain real-world experience and exposure to the technical and soft skills needed for success in high school, college, and the world of work," said YouthForce NOLA President Cate Swinburn.
Paid internships are the capstone experience of YouthForce NOLA's system-wide effort to prepare New Orleans students for the approximately 70,000 high-wage, high-demand jobs that will come available in the greater New Orleans region in the next ten years. Currently, too few New Orleans graduates have the skills or the connections to obtain these jobs. To close this gap, YouthForce NOLA offers expanded coursework offerings, career exposure and experiences, soft skills training and application opportunities, and industry-based credentials.
"Career education and technical skill-building are so important for our young people," said District "B" New Orleans City Councilmember LaToya Cantrell. "I am proud to see the Council partnering with YouthForce Nola to make these opportunities a reality."
YouthForce Internship provides 60 hours of paid soft skills and business etiquette training followed by 90 hours of paid work experience with a local employer to rising seniors from partner open enrollment public high schools. Students are placed with employers in one of three high-wage, high-demand fields: health sciences, digital media/IT, and skilled crafts.
Councilmember Jason Rogers Williams, At-Large