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Strength as Network: Insights from a SF Youth Employment Coalition Meeting

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a San Francisco Youth Employment Coalition (YEC) meeting at the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). Having previously corresponded with YEC's co-chair, Justin Brown, I was given an opportunity in the meeting agenda to make an announcement about the OpenIDEO Youth Employment Challenge. After the meeting, I also gained some great insights that I would like to share with the community.

Photo of Shane Zhao
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YEC's Mission:
" The San Francisco Youth Employment Coalition (YEC) is a membership network of various youth employment organizations in San Francisco. Founded in 1988, the SF YEC is committed to strengthening the field of youth employment by supporting our members’ professional development and serving as a resource for the community. As a member of the National Youth Employment Coalition, we share resources, legislative updates, and current research on promising practices with our members."

Strength as a Network:
In attendance at the meeting were staff members from over 10 Bay Area youth employment organizations that included SamaSource, the Bay Area Video Coaliton (BAVC) , Year Up, and TechSF just to name a few. On a monthly basis, YEC member organizations would convene to share updates and support each with resources. Employment opportunities from one agency are extended to young people from other organizations. In addition, the YEC member agencies have convened to address critical issues such as adjustments to the minimum wage. Through collective action, the coalition can affect positive changes to employment policies on a larger scale.
 
The idea of a forming a Network of like-minded agencies to tackle the challenge of Youth Employment is a powerful one! Often times, one idea or agency alone cannot attend to every aspect of a complex problem. By forming a collaborative network, we can amplify our impact in a more sustainable way. It will be very interesting to see how our ideas can complement one another in the next phase!

Insights from Arya:
In addition to the meeting, I also had a chance to chat briefly with Arya from BAVC afterwards. Arya shared with me some great insights about the challenge of youth employment from his mentorship experiences with young people.
 
•Getting a job is a moving target. What works in one place might not work in another
•Project based learning is the best way to teach students to use their own thinking skills
•Tech jobs are all about demonstrating what you can do. Helping students build their own projects will help them land jobs.
•There is no accountability mechanism in the hiring process. Employers can rescind their offer without repercussions.   
 

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Photo of Tim Huang

Thanks for sharing Shane. Really appreciate the insights here. I think the system is quite complex, and getting multiple points of view from different stakeholders who work on youth employment adds so much to the conversation.

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Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks Tim

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