National Opportunity Summit Brings Together Presidential Administration, Congress, Governors, Executives And Non-Profit Leaders To Address Youth Unemployment

by Opportunity Nation   •  

Opportunity Nation hosts February 26, 2015 event with Co-Conveners Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Jobs for America’s Graduates and United Way Worldwide

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2015 — Coinciding with a renewed national focus on employment and economic inequality, Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan coalition, today will host the National Opportunity Summit bringing together over 1,000 attendees and feature elected officials, non-profits, higher education institutions and businesses to discuss the major problems blocking economic, social and educational opportunity for young adults.

Opportunity Nation seeks to expand economic opportunity and close the opportunity gap by amplifying the work of its coalition members and advocating policy and private sector actions. The 2015 National Opportunity Summit is hosted by Opportunity Nation and Co-convened Business Roundtable (BRT), JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates), U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and United Way Worldwide.

Vice President Joe Biden will offer remarks. Additional speakers include Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference; U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez; Senator Cory Booker and others.

Currently, young adults ages 16-24 face unemployment rates nearly twice the national average and nearly six million youth are neither in school nor working.  Other topics on the agenda include employment pathways to grow the economy, the power of entrepreneurship, juvenile justice, revitalizing the apprenticeship model and academic programs beyond a four-year degree.

The National Opportunity Summit is supported by its generous sponsors, including Bank of America Charitable Foundation, State Farm, Citi Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Walmart, and the Case Foundation. Additional support to underwrite youth attendance and key breakout sessions provided by ACT Foundation, AT&T, Gap Inc., the IF Hummingbird Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.

Russell Krumnow, Managing Director of Opportunity Nation, has said for years that greater opportunity equals greater national prosperity. “There are so many barriers to success in this country often based on the zip code of one’s birth. We can’t have our young talent on the sidelines – it is in everyone’s best interest to provide them with meaningful and achievable pathways towards educational and career success.”

“We’ve realized that businesses need to get more involved with combatting youth unemployment as a basic economic principle,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Senior Advisor John R. McKernan, Jr. “We need to get companies to craft internal pathways for success, so their own employees have a future. The good news is, there are some companies that are ready to engage and collaborate to make this happen.” 

Setting a strong example for other businesses, AT&T and Walmart are set to announce separate multi-million dollar investments in workforce development programs at the Summit. Opportunity Nation will release a cross-sector and bipartisan call-to-action as well as highlight over 100 on-going community efforts to tackle youth employment.  Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will release a new white paper at the Summit, entitled, “Making Youth Employment Work.”

“The high youth unemployment rate tells us we must do more to ensure young adults have the skills and tools necessary to succeed in college and the workplace,” said Business Roundtable President John Engler. “This summit provides an opportunity for business, policymakers and education groups to work together on this important issue.”

“Ensuring that young people are educated and prepared for work is in everyone’s best interest,” said Governor of Mississippi and chair of JAG National Board, Phil Bryant. “It is my hope that this summit will generate additional strategies for helping young people stay on the path to lasting success and for protecting the strength and stability of America’s workforce.”

Stacey Stewart, U.S. president of United Way Worldwide said, “We work to provide America’s youth with opportunities to find employment and gain the skills they need to succeed. It takes collaboration between the public and private sectors, businesses and individuals to make real change happen.”

“The National Opportunity Summit illustrates the critical importance of youth employment to our economy, our communities, and our country,” said Jonathan Lavine, Co-Chair of Opportunity Nation and Managing Director of Bain Capital and Sankaty Advisors. “This Summit will ensure that youth employment and opportunity remain at the center of this important national conversation.”

About Opportunity Nation:
Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national coalition of more than 300 businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and community leaders working to expand economic opportunity. Opportunity Nation seeks to close the opportunity gap by amplifying the work of its coalition members, advocating policy and private sector actions, and releasing the annual Opportunity Index, a composite measure at the state and county levels of economic, educational and civic factors that foster opportunity.

About U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.

About Business Roundtable:
Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy. Business Roundtable’s CEO members lead U.S. companies with $7.4 trillion in annual revenues and more than 16 million employees.

About Jobs for America’s Graduates:
The organizing principle of Jobs for America’s Graduates is JOBS with career advancement opportunities for the most challenged of America’s young people of great promise.  JAG has assisted over one million young people to gain the knowledge and skills required for graduation, to be college and career ready and to pursue employment and/or enrollment in higher education. 

About United Way Worldwide   
United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for a network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories. It advances the common good by focusing on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality life. The United Way movement mobilizes millions to action—to give, advocate and volunteer—to improve conditions in their communities.

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Opportunity Nation Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national campaign comprised of more than 350 cross-sector organizations working together to expand economic mobility and close the opportunity gap in America. Opportunity Nation envisions the United States as a nation where everyone – regardless of where they were born – has equal access to opportunity, economic mobility, and success at all stages of life.

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