From the White House…

From the White House…

When the White House looked around the nation to get advice on developing summer jobs and internships for youth, they called on PROSPERITY WORKS.  CEO Ona Porter and Albuquerque student, Daniella Sanchez joined corporate executives from fortune 500 companies, Federal Department Secretaries and a handful of other nonprofit representatives in the Summer Jobs+ Summit last week.

The daylong event was a Presidential call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012.  The assembled leaders committed to creating nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 jobs by the start of summer.  Over the lifetime of these young people, taxpayers will assume a $1.6 trillion burden to meet the increased needs and lost revenue from this group.

In his call-to-action, President Obama addressed the Summit participants saying that, “America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job. It’s important for their future, and for America’s.”

For Prosperity Works attendee Ms. Sanchez, these words from the President made sense.  She finished high school in just three and a half years, could not pursue her dream of a college education immediately because the income from her full time employment is critical to her family’s financial wellbeing.  She intends to enroll at CNM this summer.  In addition to the rare honor of being invited to the White House, this was an experience of “firsts” for Daniella.  First time on an airplane. First time out of New Mexico, and most importantly, the first time she has ever been asked to share her experience to inform a policy matter that will impact thousands of young Americans.

Prosperity Works has brought the message of Summer Jobs+ home to New Mexico.  Leadership from around the state is being called to action at the “Empowering Social and Economic Opportunity” conference April 24-26 in Santa Fe.  Topics specific to our youth include Workforce Readiness and Children’s Savings Accounts.

Among the high impact strategies that Prosperity Works leads in its statewide network, is Opportunity Starts Here. It provides single mothers and their college bound students the opportunity for a comprehensive financial education and a matched savings account to be used so that each may attend college.  Ms. Sanchez was selected to participate in the Summit from participants in this initiative. Opportunity Starts Here is jointly funded by grants from the WK Kellogg Foundation, the Federal Assets for Independence Program and private donations.

See White House Press Release, “We Can’t Wait: The White House Announces Federal and Private Sector Commitments to Provide Employment Opportunities for Nearly 180,000 Youth”