Reconnecting Opportunity Youth
Opportunity youth are young adults, ages 18 to 24, who are neither in school nor employed. In New Orleans proper, there are nearly 7,000 opportunity youth, the third highest rate among metros in the U.S. Reconnecting these young adults to education and career pathways allows us to tap into their creativity and potential contributions to the community.
The Cowen Institute believes that every young person deserves the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, which is why we work to reconnect these young people to career pathways and supports. We focus on meeting young adults’ immediate needs and fueling their future aspirations in order to support them in becoming economically prosperous. Our training emphasizes the skills imperative to career readiness and upward mobility, not just job readiness â€” we work hand-in-hand with employers to pinpoint opportunities for upward mobility and professional development. By tailoring our program to the specific skills and needs of the youth and employers involved, we further our city’s ability to generate economic development. We also turn an analytical eye to this dynamic population, shaping our initiatives in tandem with our research.
Earn and Learn Career Pathways
Established in 2014, Earn and Learn Career Pathways is a six-month program that connects young adults to high-demand career pathways as well as coaching, intensive skills training, and support to decrease barriers to success. We leverage our relationship with Tulane University as a major anchor institution, employer, and resource hub to provide on-the-job learning opportunities in the construction trades and in information technology repair. Additionally, Earn and Learn partners with Gallo Mechanical and the New Orleans Pipe Trades Local 60 Union to offer a pre-apprenticeship for the plumbing, steam-fitting, and HVAC trades. In the hospitality industry, we work with the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, the Doubletree New Orleans, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group to provide career-oriented employment opportunities.
Because we’re diversifying and growing a pipeline of local talent, it’s a win for employers, too. Earn and Learn is deeply enmeshed in our city’s present and future and was developed with input from leaders in New Orleans’ local and regional economic development field. Since 2014, we’ve supported over 100 youth as they have jumpstarted their careers. For more questions or information, please contact Faith Robinson, Earn and Learn Program Coordinator, via email or at 504-274-3629.