Since the last progress report, LeadersUp has successfully launched the Future at Work Coalition, a strategic advocacy platform comprised of the business, practitioner, and academic communities, with a total roster of ten members who will help to amplify the importance of connecting youth to employment opportunities as a business imperative. Under the banner that an inclusive economy equals a competitive economy, LeadersUp has looked forward to providing the business community with a platform to engage policy directly and provide know-how in creating youth employment programs.
July 2014 marked the launch of the first pilot in Columbus, Ohio with international food manufacturer SK Food Group which ended with 162 youth placed in one year. To date, 90 of those youth have remained employed, resulting in a 55% retention rate. The pilot served as the catalyst for the joint development of a suite of standardized reusable assets with the expert partner Accenture. LeadersUp has since instituted these tools and processes into the work and how LeadersUp operates as an organization to better assess both short- and long-term impact. Since the first pilot, LeadersUp has continued to engage businesses through The Future at Work Initiative. In Los Angeles, LeadersUp launched pilots with Starbucks and FedEx where to help identify talented, ready-to-work young adults and expand their talent pipeline. The Starbucks pilot began in 2015 with early bright spots that include a 3:1 interview-to-hire ratio and an 85.3% retention rate. The FedEx pilot was scheduled to launch in 2016. The Future at Work Initiative in Chicago launched pilots with the commitments business partners C.H. Robinson, LBP Manufacturing, and Cintas where LeadersUp sought to address issues of identifying, equipping, and retaining young adults that can meet the talent demands in each respective market.
Part of the overarching strategy has been to leverage high volume high impact initiatives such as the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative launched in 2015 by Starbucks in an unprecedented call to action from a coalition of 32 employers working to address the youth unemployment crisis across the nation. LeadersUp has been proud to serve as part of the network of organizations supporting the initiative. At the Chicago launch, LeadersUp helped to train more than 1,000 youth through a professional development day. The Chicago launch resulted in employers making more than 800 job offers. In Los Angeles, LeadersUp worked with other community based organizations to train 359 young people. Other providers also trained youth, and to date, LA had the greatest turnout rate at nearly 3,000 young people at the Opportunity Fair & Forum resulting in 1,000 jobs offered that day!
As of December 31, 2015, LeadersUp has connected 300 Opportunity Youth (OY) to employment pathways through the cohort program model. Since then, LeadersUp has also helped to connect an additional 800 OY in Chicago and 1000 OY in Los Angeles through the support of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative with 30 companies. Through the employer led pilots, LeadersUp has achieved a 3:1 interview-to-hire ratio compared to an 18:1 industry standard and nearly a 60% retention rate across all projects. For the upcoming 2016 program year, LeadersUp currently has pilots underway with five employers and a projected goal of connecting an additional 500 OY by the end of 2016 program year.
Since the initial CGI commitment, LeadersUp has updated the target numbers. LeadersUp has shifted the target numbers to facilitate the placement of the same number of Opportunity Youth at 2000, but with 30 companies in 4 markets instead of 200 companies in 10 markets, by December 31, 2016. LeadersUp has adjusted the company and market numbers because LeadersUp has learned in order to create sustained and lasting impact with the employers that LeadersUp worked with, it was imperative to engage in a customized and focused way which requires much more time and resources at the organization level. LeadersUp has continued to believe that this new approach and more focused strategy around employer engagement and market expansion will bring about the shift in business practice that can be scaled more effectively.