TEENS IN THE WORKFORCE

February 16, 2019 at 5:00 am

Though the national unemployment rate remains low, studies show the talent gap among employees continues to grow. As part of our Chasing The Dream initiative, we’ll look at a new program helping underserved teenagers in New York find success in the workplace.

Aired on November 16, 2018 and February 15, 2019.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

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>>> THIS SEGMENT IS PART OF OUR
CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE ON
POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY THIS
AMERICA.
WHILE UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS LOW
THE TALENT GAP AMONG EMPLOYEES
IS EVER WIDENING.
A RECENT REPORT FROM THE CAREER
NETWORKING SITE LINKED IN SAID
THAT THE U.S. IS SHORT
1.4 MILLION PROFESSIONALS.
BUT WE WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT AN
INITIATIVE THAT'S WORKING TO
BRIDGE THAT DIVIDE AND OFFERING
AN ENTREPRENEURIAL TRAINING TO
YOUNG PEOPLE FROM LOW INCOME
COMMUNITIES RIGHT HERE IN NEW
YORK.
THE NETWORK FOR TEACHING
ENTREPRENEURSHIP THE PROGRAM
WHICH IS IN PARTNERSHIP BE THE
CITI FOUNDATION IS PROVIDING
HANDS ON BUSINESS TRAINING THIS
SUMMER.
AMONG THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS IS
MELANIE KNIGHT, A RECENT
GRADUATE OF BROOKLYN SCHOOL OF
ARTS AND HEADED TO NYU THIS FALL
AND THE HEAD OF THE MORTGAGE
GROUP OF CITIGROUP.
WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> DAVID, LET ME START WITH YOU.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM, HOW DID IT
GET STARTED AND WHAT WAS THE
IDEA BEHIND IT?
>> THE PROGRAM STARTED AS OUR
PATHWAYS FOR PROGRESS TO REALLY
PUT $100 MILLION TO WORK.
IT'S REALLY FOCUSED ON THIS
EXACT CHALLENGE, THIS EXACT
PROBLEM, THE YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT.
REALLY OUR GOAL IS TO IMPACT THE
HALF A MILLION YOUNG CHILDREN,
CHILDREN WHO WILL BECOME
PROFESSIONALS AND JOIN THE
WORKFORCE.
I CAN TELL YOU THE PROGRAM IS
REALLY EXCITING AND VIBRANT.
NOT JUST FROM THE IMPACT IT'S
HAVING WITH THE INDIVIDUALS BUT
FRANKLY THEIR COMMUNITIES TOO.
YOU KNOW --
>> IN WHAT SENSE?
HOW IS IT IMPACTING THE
COMMUNITIES?
>> THE COMMUNITIES IN TERMS OF
HOW THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE
ENTERING THE WORKFORCE AND
GIVING BACK TO THEIR COMMUNITIES
IN A REALLY EXCITING WAY.
A LOT OF THE ENTREPRENEURS THAT
WE ARE SEEING COME THROUGH THE
NIFTY PROGRAM AS ONE EXAMPLE,
NOT JUST BUILDING NEW BUSINESSES
BUT THEY'RE BRINGING IN THE
FRIENDS, BRINGING IN THE
CLASSMATES, TO JOIN THE NEW
WAVES OF PROGRAMS SO IT'S REALLY
SPARKING I WOULD SAY A GREAT
PROGRESS, A GREAT REVOLUTION,
HOW WE THINK OF BRINGING MORE
YOUNG PEOPLE NOT JUST INTO THE
WORKFORCE BUT TO BECOME
ENTREPRENEURS AND BUILD THEIR
OWN BUSINESSES.
>> SO MELANIE, HOW DID YOU GET
INVOLVED IN THIS PROGRAM?
>> WELL, I WAS INTRODUCED TO
THIS PROGRAM THROUGH MY
ECONOMICS SENIOR CLASS.
I ALREADY HAD LIKE AN
ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT.
I ALWAYS LIKE SOLD BROWNIES IN
SCHOOL AND LOLLIPOPS AND ALL
THAT.
SO THE IDEA THAT WE COULD START
A BUSINESS FROM THE GROUND UP
AND PUT OUR PASSIONS INTO OUR
BUSINESS AND HAVING A BETTER
UNDERSTANDING OF HOW WE COULD
ECONOMICALLY STABLE THROUGH WHAT
WE CREATED --
>> SO SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE
REALLY INTERESTED IN?
>> YEAH.
>> LET ME TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE
REALLY INTERESTED IN BECAUSE --
ART IS VERY MUCH A FOCUS OF YOUR
LIFE.
>> YES.
>> YOU HAVE -- YOU ALSO GOT
INVOLVED IN SORT OF STARTING UP
A KIND OF A BUSINESS THAT
INVOLVED ART.
TELL ME ABOUT THAT.
>> OKAY.
SO ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT
WE LEARNED IN ECONOMICS WAS THE
IDEA THAT WE CAN CREATE
BUSINESSES TO HELP SOLVE ISSUES
IN SOCIETY.
I COME FROM AN ART SCHOOL.
SO I'M AN ARTIST.
SO I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE AN
IMPORTANT ASPECT OF PLANNING FOR
MY BUSINESS.
I WANTED TO CREATE A BUSINESS
THAT HELPED REVERSE THE NEGATIVE
STIGMAS TOWARDS ART IN SOCIETY.
YOU CAN SEE THIS WHEN WE HAVE
THE ART BUDGETS CUT IN SCHOOL.
LIKE THERE'S A PESSIMISTIC
ATTITUDE TOWARDS THOSE WHO TRY
TO PURSUE ART AS A CAREER SO I
WANTED TO CREATE A BUSINESS THAT
WOULD HELP REVERSE THE ISSUES I
SAW.
>> TELL ME WHAT YOU DID WITH
THAT BUSINESS.
I THOUGHT IT WAS INTERESTING HOW
YOU STARTED OFF.
AND THE SERVICE, THE PRODUCT
THAT YOU'RE PROVIDING.
>> OKAY, SO IT'S A CHILDREN AND
TEENS SERVICE, CHILDREN FROM AGE
TO 8 TO 18.
AND GOING TO CHOOSING AND
BRINGING THE JOY OF ART TO YOU.
SO I WANTED TO USE THE
COMPONENTS OF MY BUSINESS TO
HELP REVERSE THESE ISSUES THAT I
SAW WITH YOUNG ARTISTS LIKE IN
UNEMPLOYMENT AND BRINGING ART TO
SOCIETY IN A CREATIVE WAY.
>> WHEN YOU LOOK, DAVID, IN
TERMS OF PHILANTHROPIES, YOU
KNOW, THERE WAS A TIME WHERE
PEOPLE WOULD SAY, FINE, WE'LL
WRITE CHECKS.
BUT IN LOOKING AT CITI AND THE
FOUNDATION HERE AND LOOKING AT
MELANIE WHO BENEFITED IMMENSELY
FROM THAT, WHEN YOU TALK TO
OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THE VALUE OF
A PROGRAM LIKE THIS, WHAT DO YOU
SAY TO THEM?
>> WELL, LOOK, IT STARTS WITH
THE IMPACT AND ULTIMATELY WHEN
WE HEAR 67 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE
WHO ARE UNDEREMPLOYED OR
UNEMPLOYED IT'S A PROBLEM THAT
NEEDS FOCUS.
IF YOU SEE THE GREAT ECONOMIC
PROGRESS THERE ARE THOSE WHO
AREN'T GOING IT AND WE FEEL AN
OBLIGATION TO ENABLE PROGRESS IN
THE COMMUNITIES.
THAT'S NOT HOW I TALK ABOUT WITH
PEOPLE DAY TO DAY, I SAY, COME
MEET MELANIE, HOW DO YOU NOT GET
EXCITED WHEN YOU HEAR THE
STORIES AND THE PASSION, THAT
SPIRIT OF DRIVING GROWTH AND NEW
BUSINESSES.
HONESTLY, THE 10,000 PLUS
VOLUNTEERS AT CITI WHO ARE
ENGAGED IN THIS AND YES, IT'S
PART OF OUR MISSION, BUT WE DO
IT BECAUSE WE'RE HAVING A GREAT
TIME LEARNING, WORKING TOGETHER.
THE IMPACT OF WORKING WITH THE
COMMUNITY.
I THINK IT'S JUST A REWARDING
EXPERIENCE DAY BY DAY AND TAKING
A STEP BACK AND IT BECOMES MORE
PROFOUND.
>> IT'S NICE THE NOTION OF DOING
WELL AND DOING GOOD AND THAT THE
PEOPLE WHO ARE VOLUNTEERING CAN
BENEFIT AS MUCH FROM IT IN MANY
WAYS AS THOSE WHO ARE THE
BENEFICIARIES OF THIS.
SO MELANIE, GOOD LUCK TO YOU.
I DON'T THINK YOU NEED OUR LUCK.
I THINK YOU'LL DO VERY WELL AT
NYU.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO TRACKING YOU.
AND SEEING HOW WELL YOU DO AND
DAVID, THANKS TO YOU AND THE
VOLUNTEERS.
THE GOOD FOLKS AT CITI AND THE
FOUNDATION FOR DOING SOME
MARVELLOUS WORK.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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