On August 9, 2018 Banyan Global hosted a panel discussion titled Creating Safe Employment Pathways for Youth with the Private Sector in Washington, DC to celebrate International Youth Day. The theme of engaging with the private sector has been part of Banyan Global’s evolving youth-focused workforce development programs, and was treated as an important learning opportunity on the overall theme of International Youth Day 2018, Safe Spaces for Youth.
To address this theme, the panel discussed how youth workforce development programs can partner with the private sector to ensure safe pathways to employment. Panelists included representatives and youth from local organizations and companies to help make connections between workforce development programs in the United States and international programs, including the Empleando Futuros project implemented by Banyan Global in Honduras.
Jacob Newman, Managing Director for Montgomery County at the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), was accompanied by Edgar Romero and Yaseen Sanchez, two young men who have benefitted from the center’s workforce development programs. They were joined by Rebecca Goodstein from Patagonia, the well-known outdoor clothing manufacturer that partners with LAYC to employ youth. Marcita Bentley-Pinkston, Director of Youth Services at Employ Prince George’s, and Yolanda Tully, Director of Youth CareerConnect at Employ Prince George’s, were also on the panel. Louie Alexander, Banyan Global’s Principal Associate for Youth Practice, served as moderator.
Participants learned about each organization’s work and how they establish partnerships with the private sector to meet labor market demand while also creating safe spaces for youth to grow into successful and happy employees. Jacob stressed the importance of engaging youth as agents of change, while Rebecca noted that businesses must adapt to the changing working styles of young people. According to Yolanda, using a common language to talk about the value to each side is key to a successful relationship between workforce development programs and the private sector. Marcita echoed her claim by pointing out how each partnership is unique.
Banyan Global is pleased to continue celebrating International Youth Day by connecting the successes and challenges of international youth programs with those of US-based programs, so that our collective effort of reaching youth will have a broader impact.