New grant will support increasing access to education and employment opportunities for youth
Phoenix, Arizona (May 25, 2022)— Pipeline AZ, an Arizona career development and job skills exploration platform, and Opportunities for Youth (OFY), a collaborative partnership creating a comprehensive system of opportunity that reengages the valley’s disconnected youth for employment and education opportunities, announced it has been selected for one of Valley of the Sun United Way’s 2022 Workforce Development grants. The grant awards Pipeline AZ and OFY $95,000 to co-lead an 18-month initiative to benefit youth and young adults ages 16 – 24 who are not working or in school. The new Opportunity Youth Pipeline AZ platform will increase access to education and employment opportunities such as hands-on, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and mentoring experiences.
The Greater Phoenix Metro Area ranks 76 out of 99 major metro areas nationally in youth disconnection. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 11.9% of youth ages 16 – 24 were disconnected from work in school in the Greater Phoenix Metro Area and did not have adequate access to education and workforce opportunities. By May 2020, that figure had jumped to 25% overall and higher for low-income, disabled, and racial/ethnic minority communities.
“Maricopa County has one of the country’s highest concentrations of young people not working and not in school,” said Maritza Valenzuela, Program Director of Opportunities for Youth. “This population is also called opportunity youth because of the economic and social potential they hold. Opportunities for Youth is proud to partner with Pipeline AZ to develop resources that will reengage the Valley’s disconnected youth and help them attain success in education, career and life.”
The project’s goals are to increase the number of youth in the community who obtain employment or who enroll in and complete a training program.
“Pipeline AZ and Opportunities for Youth are the perfect partners to help the young people in our community get connected to local career opportunities and build a foundation for success,” said Melissa Boydston, Ed.D, Vice President of Community Development and Engagement at Valley of the Sun United Way. “Combining OFY’s network of over 80 public, private and nonprofit partnerships and Pipeline AZ’s online employment ecosystem, we’ll be able to make an impact on reducing the rate of youth disconnection from career opportunities once they’re out of school.”
The Opportunity Youth Pipeline AZ platform also will develop technology that facilitates job training, matching, and exploration, and provide case managers with tools to help youth explore industries and careers, apply for jobs, and complete learning experiences. Overall, the project will connect hundreds of underserved youth and young adults with local employers.
“Pipeline AZ aims for equitable access to career exploration opportunities, which is why we’re happy to join forces with Opportunities for Youth and target those disproportionately impacted by Greater Phoenix’s rural and urban opportunity deserts,” said Katherine Pappas, Pipeline AZ Director of Workforce Strategy. “We’re looking forward to tapping into the potential of our community’s youth and young adults and helping them plan for a successful future.”
Pipeline AZ is an initiative of the Partnership for Economic Innovation, a passionate collective of business and community leaders dedicated to accelerating Arizona’s economic opportunities. The work of Pipeline AZ is made possible in part by the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority. Job seekers of any age and experience can connect with employers at pipelineaz.com.
ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH
Opportunities for Youth (OFY) is a network of more than 80 non-profits, community-based organizations, employers, and government agencies using a collective impact approach to reduce the rate of disconnected youth (ages 16-24 not working and not in school) in the Greater Phoenix Metro Area. OFY was launched in 2015 in response to the unfortunate emergence of Maricopa County as one of the country’s most concentrated populations of opportunity youth. OFY’s mission is to harness the power of cross-sector collaboration to create a comprehensive system of opportunity that reengages the valley’s disconnected youth. Over the past 4 years, OFY Reengagement Centers have successfully reconnected more than 10,000 youth to an educational or career pathway. Learn more at oppforyouth.org.
ABOUT PIPELINE AZ
Pipeline AZ is a career development and exploration platform that creates pathways to in-demand careers by connecting the dots between industry and education. It uses skills mapping technology to help job seekers discover new paths or level up in their existing careers while also serving as a valuable recruiting tool for employers. Pipeline AZ is an initiative of the Partnership for Economic Innovation. Learn more at pipelineaz.com.
ABOUT PARTNERSHIP FOR ECONOMIC INNOVATION
Partnership for Economic Innovation is a passionate collective of business and community leaders dedicated to accelerating Arizona’s economic opportunities. We believe innovators are problem solvers who come from anywhere, if they have access to pathways to do so — which is why PEI is investing in community-building technology and R&D designed to make Arizona more resilient and empower innovators to bring world-changing ideas to market. PEI initiatives include:
- Pipeline AZ, a career exploration platform creating more transparent pathways to advanced industry jobs and connecting Arizona workers to any training they might need to get there.
- The Connective, Greater Phoenix’s internationally acclaimed Smart Region collaborative, convening cities, industries and entrepreneurs to lay the open innovation groundwork to solve regional challenges.
- WearTech and Blockchain Applied Research Centers are accelerating the development of emerging technology products with the potential to radically transform healthcare, keep us safer and more secure.