Youth Employment Coalition

Building a canopy of opportunity

There has never been a better moment to double down on our region’s future and invest in providing our young people every opportunity to apply their talent and creativity to power our economic growth. The Racial Equity Roundtable’s Youth Employment Coalition is working to ensure that all our youth have access to pathways to opportunity with a particular focus on youth who are disconnected from school and the workforce.

This Coalition comprises more than 50 partners, including government, nonprofits and businesses, and was convened to create a coordinated approach for youth ages 16–24 to access career pathways leading to family sustaining jobs. This work is grounded in data, centers the voice of youth, and will engage employers to help young people move successfully toward their individual life goals.

Community partners throughout our region are connecting and engaging on the ground to lift up this initiative. To start, we must ensure that youth have access to a coordinated and clearly articulated system of pathways and supports that will enable them to get jobs in high-demand/high-interest industries. Led by SUNY Erie Community College and The Service Collaborative of WNY, local youth will help design a career center in the City of Buffalo, which is slated to open in fall 2022. The center will offer career coaches who will be working in partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools and youth employment agencies to provide services necessary to overcome barriers on the path to a career. Those same pathways and supports will be mirrored in a new website to help youth navigate online as well.

Say Yes Buffalo is working with the Coalition to collect data to track and monitor progress on the goal and is helping connect youth to high-quality paid employment and training/educational opportunities through apprenticeships. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is assisting in connecting our youth to fill important openings that businesses need in order to grow.

Investing in the talented, vibrant, creative and energetic young people who call Buffalo home will catapult our region’s growth.

The Youth Employment Coalition is an initiative of the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable.

This story is featured in our 2021 Annual Report