NLC Selects Six Cities to Advance Economic Recovery for BIPOC Youth and Young Adults by Building STEM Career Pathways, Improving Job Quality, and Empowering Youth Voice

Washington, D.C. – The National League of Cities (NLC) has competitively selected six cities to participate in an 18-month peer learning cohort with expert guidance for its newly-launched initiative, Youth Excel: Cities Advancing Equitable Youth Economic Recovery and Empowerment. The Youth Excel Cohort includes Bridgeport, CT; Houston, TX; Lauderhill, FL; Madison, WI; Sacramento, CA; and Saint Paul, MN. With generous support from the Siemens Foundation, NLC is granting each city $150,000 to execute this initiative locally.

Marginalized youth and young adults are disproportionately represented among industries hardest hit by the pandemic, such as healthcare, hospitality, service, childcare, and agriculture,  and as a result have suffered economically. These young people, who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), are often from low-income backgrounds,  disconnected from school and/or the workforce, and have limited access to quality educational and career experiences to put them on a path to becoming financially secure and economically mobile city residents.

“Educational attainment is directly linked to a city’s economic vitality and well-being.  Municipal leaders have a great opportunity to help increase and enhance education and training opportunities for BIPOC youth that directly link to meaningful and high-wage careers,” said Audrey M. Hutchinson, Director of Education and Expanded Learning at NLC. “The National League of Cities is proud to work with these six cities through the Youth Excel initiative to develop equitable career opportunities and supports for marginalized young people in their communities.”

“The Siemens Foundation is committed to economic, social and racial justice for all, and together with the National League of Cities, we’re continuing our efforts to narrow the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S.,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “Through the Youth Excel initiative, young people will be engaged directly with city leaders to shape a strategy for equitable access to valuable STEM pathways that lead to high-wage careers. We know that cities are an essential part of the solution and are proud to partner with NLC on Youth Excel.”

With support from NLC, city-led cross-sector teams involving mayors, city councilmembers, Chambers of Commerce, community colleges and universities, school districts, community-based organizations, and young people or youth-focused organizations will work to promote equitable long-term economic security by developing partnerships and implementing strategies that improve access for BIPOC youth and young adults to postsecondary education and career pathways.

“The City of Lauderhill is pleased to have the opportunity to invest in our youth and to introduce them to jobs in the STEM industry.  Under the leadership of Vice Mayor Melissa P. Dunn and myself, Lauderhill youth will have the opportunity to better position themselves for a clear pathway to in-demand careers.” -Mayor Ken Thurston City of Lauderhill

“Our City is committed to providing sustainable and equitable pathways for young people to succeed. The Youth Excel Cohort grant represents a tremendous opportunity to bring leaders together and catalyze bigger and bolder actions for young people in Sacramento. My office aims to focus support and programming around a more complete and connected system to support our youth so they can thrive.” -Mayor Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento

This initiative will focus on training towards STEM careers, job quality improvement strategies, and integrating the critical perspectives of young people to understand their needs, desires, and the barriers they face to enter high-wage careers. Cities will engage in regular peer learning opportunities and receive specialized assistance from NLC’s staff and national content experts to achieve their desired outcomes.

For more information about the NLC project or the selected cities’ goals, contact media@nlc.org.

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NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) helps municipal leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth, and families in their communities. NLC launched the Institute in January 2000 in recognition of the unique and influential roles that mayors, city councilmembers and other local leaders play in strengthening families and improving outcomes for children and youth.