How Grads of Life Is Supporting The President’s #FirstJob Compact

Grads of Life is delighted to share President Obama’s announcement today on the progress of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative and the new commitments made by the private sector to expand job opportunities for all of the nation’s young people.

In February 2014, the President launched MBK, which called on communities to act to address persistent opportunity gaps experienced by boys and young men of color. Since then, nearly 250 communities all across the county have accepted the MBK Community Challenge and have begun to implement plans to ensure that all young people, no matter their race, zip code, or family income, can achieve their full potential in education and employment. The MBK Task Force has also worked to create new federal policy initiatives and grant programs that will ensure that every young person has a clear pathway to success.

Today, the President went a step further to make the bold goals of MBK a reality. Understanding the profound impact of a first job on a young person’s long-term employment prospects, the President has proposed new investments to help young adults enter the workforce in both year-round and summer jobs and has called upon employers to do their part.

Nearly 40 of the largest companies in the United States, in addition to hundreds of small- and medium-sized businesses, have signed onto the #FirstJob Compact. The#FirstJob Compact is a commitment to implement a set of best practices for recruiting, hiring, and supporting Opportunity Youth – the nearly 6 million young adults in the country who are out of school and out of work. The best practices in the#FirstJob Compact include the following:
  • Identify jobs and internships that can be filled by young workers with little to no prior experience
  • Partner with nonprofits, school districts and other workforce development partners to identify and recruit Opportunity Youth
  • Develop a plan to support Opportunity Youth once hired so they can gain the skills and experiences needed to grow in the workplace
  • Take steps to systems to tract data and capture results
  • Develop internal and external communications strategies the share outcomes of Opportunity Youth hiring initiatives
Among the companies that have committed to the #FirstJob Compactare AT&T, Chipotle Mexican Grill, CVS Health, Delta Airlines, Gap Inc., Goodwill Industries, Hilton Worldwide, Sears, Starbucks, and Visa Inc, among others. Many of these commitments have specific and quantifiable goals for the number of opportunities that will be created for young people.

For example, Gap Inc. has committed to expanding This Way Ahead, its life skills and internship program that provides low-income young adults with skills training and work experience. Gap and its subsidiaries Banana Republic and Old Navy will recruit 5 percent of all entry-level store employees through This Way Ahead by 2025, connecting 5,000 young adults with jobs per year. The full list of #FirstJob CompactFounding Members, with more examples of commitments, can be seen here.

We at Grads of Life will play an important role in helping employers to meet their commitments through the #FirstJob Compact.  In addition to our ongoing work to catalyze market demand for Opportunity Youth by transforming employer perceptions and hiring practices, we will work with at least eight #FirstJob companies to facilitate the execution of their commitments by providing consultative support and program design assistance.

Additionally, we are releasing two tools to help all employers bring Opportunity Youth in to their talent pipeline: a business case framework that highlights the metrics companies should track to understand the economic value of their commitments; and a partnership management tool that outlines the roles of the employer and the workforce training provider in collaborating to develop Opportunity Youth talent pipelines.



Grads of Life applauds the leadership of the Administration and the many companies that have committed to creating opportunities for America’s young people with the#FirstJob Compact. And we welcome additional initiatives and commitments from other governmental and private sector leaders that build on this compact to further expand opportunity for young adults across the country.

Elyse Rosenblum is the Principal of Grads of Life. 

The GradsofLifeVoice Forbes team provides thought leadership, research and expert commentary on innovative talent pipelines and related issues such as the skills gap, income inequality, workforce diversity, and the business case for employment pathways. We seek to change employers’ perceptions of young adults with atypical resumes from social liabilities to economic assets. This post was originally featured here.

Business Case, Diversity, Education, Government/Policy, Hiring & Retention Practices, Income Inequality, Innovation, Management & Leadership, News, Partnerships, Personal Story, Skills Gap, Technology, Workforce Development,
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