Young job seekers surf the net. (Courtesy of Business Wire)
Young job seekers surf the net. (Courtesy of Business Wire)

The nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to employment for 16- to 24-year-olds in the District who are neither in school nor employed.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative announced Wednesday, May 24, plans to hold an Opportunity Fair and Forum in the District in the fall of 2017.

“We know that one of the most effective ways to spread inclusive prosperity is by connecting residents to good paying jobs,” Bowser said. “Through this partnership with the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, we will be able to equip more young Washingtonians with the skills they need to succeed in D.C.’s job market, help them find jobs in the community, and get them on pathways to the middle class.”

The initiative will focus on recruiting and hiring youth from the most underserved communities in D.C.

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which claims to have already connected over 100,000 young people to jobs in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, and Dallas, will work closely with the Bowser administration and other civic leaders across the region.

They will begin identifying a network of community-based organizations to connect youth to jobs and pathways to success.

The Opportunity Fair expects companies such as Starbucks, Five Guys, HMS Host, FedEx, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Ulta to participate.

At the Fair and Forum young adults in search for viable employment will have onsite interviews with employers; job application assistance; styling tips for the workplace; headshots and assistance creating a LinkedIn profile.

They will also get personalized resume development support; interview tips and mock interviews; options for completing high school and college exploration; legal resources for justice involved youth and immigration services and support in mentor identification and job training programs.

The Opportunity Initiative follows programs such as LEAP, Career Connections, the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, ASPIRE and PROJECT 500 that have made an effort to help residents throughout D.C. make professional connections, overcome employment barriers, start businesses and find jobs.

Additionally, in 2015, Bowser expanded the Barry program to ages 22-24, so that young people in need can participate in the program and gain meaningful work experience, she said.

Following the Opportunities Initiative success in Dallas with 700 jobs offered a few weeks ago, the group announced a new goal to hire one million youth by 2020.

“In Washington, D.C., the coalition will work closely with the Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser and other civic leaders across the region as it begins identifying a network of community based organizations working to connect opportunity youth to jobs and pathways to success,” Opportunity Fair said in a statement. “In the D.C. area, where an estimated 70,000, 10 percent, youth are disconnected from work and school, the coalition will aim to apply best practices from its work in other cities where it has already hired more than 100,000 young people.”

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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