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Bridgeport Receives Grant from the National League of Cities For Equitable Career Opportunities

Updated: Jan 14


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 13, 2022



CONTACT Ashlee Niedospial ashlee@narrative-project.com 570.778.5916

 

City of Bridgeport Receives Grant from the National League of Cities to Promote Equitable Career Opportunities for Youth, RYASAP Tapped as Lead Connecticut Organization to Implement the Youth Excel Initiative

 

Bridgeport, CT (January 13, 2022) - The National League of Cities (NLC) has announced the city of Bridgeport as a recipient of a two-year grant to make true economic opportunity a reality for youth and young adults who are marginalized from quality education and career opportunities through the Youth Excel Initiative. The Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP) and United Way of Coastal Fairfield County (UWCFC) have been tapped to support the implementation of the city’s action plan to provide academic and career success opportunities for many young people who live in Bridgeport and struggle with issues surrounding education and inequality. "A quality education is an essential building block towards leading a happy, fulfilling and successful life. Too often, young people in our city are deprived of opportunities that can help them succeed and grow simply because of circumstance," said Marc Donald, Executive Director of RYASAP. "We're grateful that through the Youth Excel Initiative, Bridgeport will soon be able to provide new educational and career opportunities for the youth and young adults most likely to face additional barriers to success, and we're eager to get started." Bridgeport joins five other cities from across the nation receiving grants of $150,000, along with specialized assistance from NLC’s staff and other national experts to advance the city’s efforts to expand STEM career pathways for marginalized young people. Marginalized youth and young adults are disproportionately represented among industries hardest hit by the pandemic, such as healthcare, hospitality, service, childcare, and agriculture. These young people, who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), are low income, or are disconnected from school and/or the workforce, have limited access to quality educational and career experiences. Students graduating from high school in 2020 and 2021 face particularly unique and long-term risks. Since the Great Recession, nearly 95 percent of all new jobs have gone to workers with at least some college education; yet, as a result of the pandemic, the likelihood of youth pursuing a four-year degree decreased 23 percent between May 2020 and September 2021 – down to 48 percent from 71 percent. “Educational attainment is directly linked to a city’s economic vitality and well-being, and there is a great opportunity for municipal leaders to help youth link their education to meaningful careers,” said Dr. Robert Blaine, Senior Executive and Director, Institute for Youth, Education and Families. “The National League of Cities is proud to work with the City of Bridgeport to develop new career opportunities and supports for marginalized young people in Bridgeport” As part of a city-led cross–sector partnership, RYASAP will collaborate with The Greater Bridgeport STEM Learning Ecosystem to support young adults and youth interested in STEM career pathways. The funds will also support the further development of RYASAP’s Park City Career Pathways’ (PCCP) existing database system to better measure student data outcomes, case management services, program analysis and effectiveness for continuous improvement. "Through Park City Career Pathways we've already begun to understand and help Bridgeport youth navigate the unique and unexpected challenges they've been forced to face due to the pandemic," said Jeremy Kosbob, Program Director of RYASAP's Park City Career Pathways. "Connecting these young people with career pathways, opportunities, and resources won't just help those individuals -- though that is the most essential aspect of the Youth Excel program. It will also ensure we're building safe, happy and thriving communities." The Youth Excel initiative runs from January 2022 through June 2023 and is generously supported by the Siemens Foundation. You can learn more at: https://www.nlc.org/initiative/youth-excel.

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ABOUT BCAC AND RYASAP BCAC: The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) is committed to improving the well-being of Bridgeport’s children and families through research, education, and advocacy. BCAC and RYASAP forged a partnership in which BCAC is now working under the RYASAP (Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership) umbrella. RYASAP: Established in 1985 and serving the greater Bridgeport region, RYASAP (Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership) works to ensure the safe and healthy development of youth, young adults, and families by actively engaging organizations, public officials, and community leaders around issues that matter most to the community.

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