Ready News: April 5, 2021

In This Issue: Evaluation Policy, Funding, Opportunity Youth, Ready by 21 National Meeting



The Forum’s Thought Leadership Roundtables: A Spring Series

A Conversation with Kimberly Robinson, Ph.D. 
Thursday April 15th, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

In February, the Forum for Youth Investment’s Co-Founder and CEO Karen Pittman stepped out of organizational leadership to “find more time.” More time to reflect. More time to write. More time to amplify powerful ideas. While Karen had been saying publicly for years that she’d make this move and “refire” at some point, the combination of the unique moment we’re in as a field and the confidence she had in the Forum’s programmatic leaders gave her the confidence that the time was right.

With a national search for our next CEO well underway, the Forum’s mission and vital work continues apace to help leaders think differently about what it takes to manage and sustain change so that they are more motivated to act differently and, ultimately, act together as a part of an allied youth field.

Those who know the full Forum know that three strategic approaches have guided our work since our founding 20+ years ago:

  • Strengthening Practices & Programs: The Forum empowers youth development, education, and human service system leaders to adopt, implement, and scale management, staff policies, and practices that ensure young people have access to high quality, coordinated supports they need to succeed.
  • Improving & Aligning Policies: The Forum helps policymakers, funders, advocates, and rising leaders increase their capacity by aligning with other advocates, departments, sectors, and levels of government to use data and evidence to support the whole child and pursue racial and social equity.
  • Planning & Partnering for Impact: The Forum supports boundary-spanning leaders charged with creating or implementing plans that require a focus on the bigger picture. The team helps leaders connect the dots across complex and sometimes competing goals, services, plans, and partners.

In April and May, Karen will sit down with the Forum’s three program executives and, together, they will both tell the broader story of how the Forum is changing the odds for young people and explore the future of our work to advance equity, research, policy, and practice across all the systems and settings that shape young people’s lives. Each executive leads a unit and a set of named centers and initiatives intended to drive one of the Forum’s strategic approaches.

Join Karen on Thursday, April 15 when she’ll be interviewing Kimberly Howard Robinson, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of the Forum and Managing Director of our Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. The Weikart Center is the Forum’s most visible effort devoted to strengthening practices and programs.

Register today!



Equity and Evaluation Policy: Making Good on the Biden Administration’s Commitment

Blog by Alicia-Wilson Ahlstrom and Mary Ellen Wiggins 

The Biden Administration has taken clear steps to make racial equity a government-wide priority. What should that look like for evaluation policy?

The January 20th Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government cited the urgent need to address entrenched disparities in US law and public policy, acknowledging long-standing inequities that exacerbated the converging economic, health, and climate crises. One week later, the Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking emphasized “the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government,” including the role of evidence-based policymaking. The direct language of racial equity, accompanied by President Biden’s January 26th remarks explicitly naming racial injustice as a nation-wide equity agenda, promises a new level of unpacking how federal government operates and engages people and communities historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

Read more.



The Cradle to Career Guide to Federal Relief Funding for Kids During and Beyond COVID-19

The Children’s Funding Project recently released a new resource designed to address the novel challenges that states, localities, and child and youth serving organizations were facing as a result of the unfolding pandemic. The guide, The Cradle to Career Guide to Federal Relief Funding for Kids, is intended to help leaders at all levels take advantage of new funding opportunities from the COVID-19 stimulus packages and respond to the crisis by leveraging the flexibilities of new and existing funding.

The guide provides timely information on the most recent relief dollars from the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP). There are also several examples of how states and communities have leveraged federal resources during this challenging year for the benefit of children and youth.

Read more.



New Tool for Connecting Opportunity Youth with Job Opportunities

The Hire Opportunity Coalition is committed to getting national employers focused on hiring opportunity youth – but one of the biggest challenges has always been providing them with a direct connection to these youth when jobs are available. To address this problem, the coalition has built a partnership with Stella, a growing talent platform focused exclusively on frontline jobs and used by major companies like AT&T, Chipotle, Hyatt, Wayfair, and some 25 (and growing) other national companies. This platform allows job seekers to register in order to search for frontline jobs with big employers (often retail, restaurant, hospitality, and warehouse) in their local area, and allows recruiters from those companies to post open jobs and search for and contact job seekers on the platform. To support this effort, Stella has created a landing page through which opportunity youth can register themselves as job seekers – with just a name and email to start – and immediately be tagged as priority youth. Then, companies interested in supporting youth employment can filter candidates by this tag – and reach out to these youth to prioritize them for open jobs.

Learn more.



Join Us Online for the 9th Annual Ready by 21 National Meeting

The Forum for Youth Investment’s Ready by 21 National Meeting, to be held online May 19-20, brings together local, state, and national leaders who are committed to improving partnerships, policies, and practices for children and youth. We hope you will join your peers managing change at all levels to explore how to partner for better impact, align policies, improve program quality and performance, and embrace readiness in the pursuit of robust equity.

Please watch some highlights from our last convening in Seattle, Washington, featuring leaders in the youth-serving field such as Karen Pittman with the Forum, Hal Smith with the National Urban League, Valerie Kinloch with the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, Camille Farrington with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, and many others.

Register today!