Bringing Together Employers and Opportunity Youth

Our Mission

Grads of Life is a national initiative that catalyzes market demand for opportunity youth (ages 16-24) by transforming employer perceptions and hiring practices. Grads of Life places an innovative focus on the demand side of the talent marketplace, harnessing the power of the private sector to catalyze an employer-led movement to create pathways to employment for Opportunity Youth nationwide.

Our Vision

Grads of Life envisions a future in which a functioning talent marketplace means that there are no longer 6 million Opportunity Youth without employment while 7 million middle-skills jobs go unfilled. For this to happen, all employers must see Opportunity Youth as a key component of their talent strategy and build talent pipelines into their companies that support the hiring, training and development of these young adults.

Our Work

We pursue an integrated strategy that includes a national multi-media campaign designed to shift employer perceptions; a digital platform where employers can find the information, tools, and partners they need to take action; individual, association, and sector level partnerships with employers to create Opportunity Youth talent pipelines; and research the business case for creating pipelines to demonstrate a return on investment. We know that Opportunity Youth will only have access to meaningful careers if the private sector is engaged and companies see Opportunity Youth as a viable solution for their talent needs.

Grads of Life is here to help employers develop a pool of candidates who are driven, motivated and ready to work from day one.

Our Team

Elyse Rosenblum


Rya Conrad-Bradshaw

Senior Director, Practice Change

Raphael Rosenblatt

Senior Director, Practice Change

Valerie Beilenson

Director, Employer Demand

Annaliese Calhoun

Director, Design & Operations

Erika Cospy

Director, Employer Solutions

Toi Eshun

Director, Marketing & Communications

Laura Thompson

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Catherine Gillespie

Associate Director, Employer Solutions

Philip Price

Product Management Lead

Patrick Smith


Francisca Williams-Oni


Christian Vialva

Marketing Specialist

Kelly Graham


Connor Wakayama


W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supported the development of this site through the New Options Project, a $28 million investment designed to create innovative tools for linking job-seeking young adults with meaningful career opportunities and connecting employers with highly qualified, entry-level talent.

The Grads of Life Campaign

The Grads of Life campaign is a national multi-media public service announcement (PSA), created in collaboration with the Ad Council. The objective of the PSA is to shift employer perceptions of Opportunity Youth and to spur employers to change their business practices so that their talent pipelines are inclusive of Opportunity Youth. The campaign includes video, radio, print, outdoor and digital assets, which are available for use in donated media space or for educational purposes.

Grads of Life Headlines

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