Emerging Lessons From Summer Youth Employment in the Age of COVID-19 (webinar)


AFCS and CLASP, with the support of JPMorgan Chase & Co, co-hosted the webinar, Emerging Lessons from Summer Youth Employment in the Age of Covid-19 on Thursday, September 10 from 3:30 – 5:00 PM ET.

The summer of 2020 was like no other. As the nation and all communities grapple with the impacts of a global pandemic, racial injustice and economic crisis, young people have been at the center of these circumstances: resilient in the face of uncertainty and standing on the front lines for racial justice. In this online discussion, we heard from community leaders what really happened this summer – innovation and challenges to supporting young people in the wake of tragedy. In communities nationwide, summer youth employment programs (SYEP) play an important role preparing young people for careers and can improve economic, academic and behavioral outcomes for youth and young adults in low-income communities. Yet social distancing requirements due to Covid-19 made operating such programs in a traditional manner this summer impossible.

Co-sponsored by AFCS and CLASP with the support of JPMorgan Chase & Co, this webinar reconvened leaders from five communities from the Opportunity Youth Forum and Communities Collaborating to Reconnect Youth networks who previously shared their innovative and resilient strategies to adapt SYEP despite these challenges at our last webinar on May 28th on this topic.How have plans played out in implementation during this traumatic summer? What can we learn from summer to support year-round work-based learning and career opportunities for youth and young adults, as well as distanced learning in high school and postsecondary settings? What more is needed to ensure equitable access and outcomes for those populations hardest hit by today’s overlapping crises?

Speakers included the following program staff, youth and young adults:

Farrah Farnese, Senior Director, External Relations,Philadelphia Youth Network
Justice Passe,WorkReady Philadelphia
Shuna Hayward, Vice President of Programs, Connect Detroit
Taylin Hodges, Grow Detroit Young Talent
Joe McLaughlin, Director of Research and Strategy, Boston Private Industry Council
Johnson Le, Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program Boston
• Lukee Forbes, Social Justice Activist, Albany, New York
• Lauri Collier, Director, Los Angeles Opportunity Youth CollaborativeAlliance for Children’s Rights

The discussion was moderated by Kisha Bird, Director of Youth Policy, CLASP and Mike Swigert, Senior Program Manager for Youth Employment, AFCS.