Statewide Afterschool Summits Highlight Cradle to Career Approaches and Afterschool as a Workforce Development Strategy

May 19, 2014

By Alysha Davis

Numerous research studies document that high-quality out-of-school time learning opportunities have been shown to improve student engagement with both school and community, support greater academic achievement and equip young people with the necessary workforce and life skills for a successful future. To this end, the National League of Cities is providing technical and financial assistance to five statewide afterschool networks to host mayoral summits on afterschool.

Last week, New York and New Hampshire both held statewide mayoral summits that focused on the importance of afterschool and expanded learning for children and youth in their communities. The summits served to: 

  • Raise awareness of the critical roles mayors can play to support afterschool.
  • Connect mayors with peers from across their states.
  • Highlight successful approaches to building citywide afterschool systems.
  • Engage mayors in efforts to strengthen state afterschool policies.
  • Provide attendees the opportunity develop strategic partnerships among city leaders, statewide afterschool networks and state agencies that advance local afterschool initiatives.

The New York State Afterschool Network, in partnership with the New York State Cradle to Career Alliance, held their summit, entitled Developing Students, Engaging Communities: A Summit on Local Leadership for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning Opportunities in New York, in Buffalo. Mayor Byron Brown hosted the summit and welcomed approximately 100 city leaders, state agency officials and school and community partners from across the Empire State to his city. Presenters included Mayor Kathy Sheehan of Albany, Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester and Mayor Mike Spano of Yonkers, among others.

The New Hampshire Mayoral Summit for Afterschool and Expanded Learning, hosted by the New Hampshire Afterschool Network and Mayor Ken Merrifield of Franklin focused on how mayors and community leaders can be liaisons between the business community and afterschool programs. With more than 160 participants from at least 26 cities and towns representing every part of the state, the New Hampshire summit accomplished the network’s first steps toward its goal of using afterschool as a strategy and vehicle for workforce development. Representatives from local government, schools, statewide organizations, nonprofits and leaders from the business community created a setting that encouraged participants to take action in their local communities.

Other statewide afterschool networks that NLC, through its Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, has selected to host 2014 mayoral summits include: the New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition, the South Dakota Afterschool Partnership and the Utah Afterschool Network. In each summit, the afterschool network works in partnership with mayoral champions and their state municipal leagues to host the event. The summits are made possible by the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Wallace Foundation.