Social Innovation Fund Grant Supports Career Pathways for Minnesota Youth
Youthprise announced a 3-year grant totaling $579,000 to “Tri-City Bridges to the Future”, a new collaborative in Northfield, Faribault, and Red Wing, including the MN Correctional Facility-Red Wing. The initiative will offer career pathways approaches for 85 youth ages 14-24 in the three cities who are in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, homeless, or are disconnected from school and work. The primary focus is high school completion with dual enrollment options through partnerships with area higher education institutions and postsecondary training in career clusters that have clear pathways to higher degrees.
The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) will serve as the convener and backbone organization for the coalition. Lead partners in the project include Workforce Development, Inc., Faribault Public Schools, Northfield Public Schools, Minnesota Department of Corrections–Red Wing Juvenile Facility, Riverland Community College, South Central Community College, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, the Rice County Family Services Collaborative, and more than 20 local businesses and community organizations.
The Tri-City grant is part of a larger announcement of $3.75 million in grants to six Minnesota organizations to connect Minnesota’s opportunity youth with services and support that will lead to careers in high demand, like IT, health care, construction and manufacturing. The project, Opportunity Reboot, targets youth ages 14-24 who are either homeless, in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system or disconnected from school and work. An additional focus is on building social-emotional skills to strengthen education and career outcomes.
This funding opportunity was made possible through a 3-year $3 million Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant to Youthprise for Opportunity Reboot. SIF is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service that is focused on improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. Youthprise was one of eight intermediaries across the country to receive a SIF grant in 2015. SIF funds must be matched dollar for dollar and Opportunity Reboot sub-grantees must also provide a dollar for dollar match, resulting in an additional $5.4 million in funding being leveraged.
Youthprise received requests of more than $71 million from 23 organizations statewide. Using a peer review panel process, Youthprise engaged individuals from the community, youth workers, youth, and foundation partners to recommend projects. Key partners in the project – Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) – Office of Youth Development, Search Institute and the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (MPM) also participated in the review.
In addition to the Tri-City project, five other organizations from Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth and Sauk Rapids were selected in total to receive 3-year grants ranging from $193,000 to $234,000 annually. Funded organizations are implementing evidence-based models and utilizing a career pathways approach. The goal is to build the evidence on which models are most successful in reaching disconnected youth so they can be brought to scale so more youth can benefit.
“We are very pleased to support the Tri-City innovative approach to creating career pathways for Minnesota youth,” commented Marcus Pope, Youthprise Director of Partnerships and External Relations. “We are excited to see how this collaboration can open up new career pathways for youth in southeast Minnesota. In the face of a 40% reduction in federal funding for youth workforce development, these Opportunity Reboot grants are greatly needed to help reduce economic disparities in our state.”
“The organizations selected by Youthprise are an extremely great fit for the Social Innovation Fund. We’re especially impressed by how young people were engaged in the decision-making process right from the start working alongside local philanthropic leaders to select these sub-grantees. Certainly, when young people can be hired for high-demand careers in IT, healthcare, construction and manufacturing, the entire state of Minnesota benefits. All of this training potentially creates financial independence and lays the foundation for future life success,” said Damian Thorman, Director of the Social Innovation Fund.
Founded in 2010 by the McKnight Foundation, Youthprise is a nonprofit intermediary that invests in the future of Minnesota by investing in youth. The organization works on multiple levels: supporting nonprofit organizations that serve youth; aligning efforts through citywide and statewide initiatives; and providing opportunities directly to young people. Grounded in a commitment to addressing racial disparities, Youthprise works to increase young people’s opportunities for learning and social emotional development, economic prosperity, and health and safety.
About the Social Innovation Fund
The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) unites public and private resources to evaluate and grow innovative community-based solutions with evidence of results. The SIF and its private-sector partners have invested more than half a billion dollars in compelling community solutions. As a result, the SIF has awarded grants to more than 35 community-based organizations and over 180 nonprofits working in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in April of 2009, the Social Innovation Fund is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency focused on improving lives, strengthening communities, and fostering civic engagement through service and volunteering. CNCS engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Since 1994, more than 830,000 Americans have provided more than 1 billion hours of service to their communities and country through AmeriCorps. Together, service and innovation provide a vehicle to harness the power of ordinary people and unleash the potential of innovative ideas to help address our communities’ toughest social problems and transform lives.