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Opportunity NOW Launches Employer Recruitment Effort

Mayor Barry’s Youth Employment Initiative focused on recruiting private and not-for-profit partners to provide paid summer job opportunities for Nashville’s youth

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (November 22, 2016) – At a launch event held at Emma Inc. for Opportunity NOW, Mayor Megan Barry praised support from local businesses and called on more business and community leaders to join the effort of providing paid summer jobs for Nashville’s youth next summer.

on-logo“Opportunity NOW will be most successful with public, private and not-for-profit organizations collaborating to connect our youth to opportunity and jobs,” said Mayor Barry. “Employers serve as the foundation of this initiative and the key to providing meaningful worksites, engaged supervisors, and quality opportunities for young people. I’m calling all local businesses to join us as Opportunity NOW partners, and help us make a difference in the lives of Nashville’s youth.”

Opportunity NOW is a coordinated initiative launched by Mayor Megan Barry to provide young people in Davidson County access to employment. In Nashville, we have seen fewer and fewer teenagers and young adults working during the summers and after-school. At the same time, Nashville employers across various industries are concerned about the lack of “soft” skills among their youngest employees—skills most readily learned through actual work experience.

oppnow-9258The initiative was created based on recommendations from the Mayor’s Youth Violence Summit as a way to connect youth to real work experience. Opportunity NOW is designed to combat the growing gap in youth employment and will be the central system for delivering jobs to young people. As a public-private partnership, Opportunity NOW invites community stakeholders to financially contribute to this mission.

Joining the Mayor at the launch event was John Steele, senior vice president of human resources for HCA, who announced a donation of $250,000 from HCA to fund 100 paid summer jobs through the Opportunity NOW initiative.

“The demand for highly skilled workers in Nashville is rising. It is essential for us to come together to make sure that our young people are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow and ready to collaborate, drive innovation, and accelerate progress in our city,” said Steele. “We hope that many other Nashville companies will join us in supporting Opportunity NOW and investing in the future of our young people.”

Employers can engage with Opportunity NOW by:

  • Partnering with the initiative to hire young people directly,
  • Providing work sites for young people participating in a more structured program, and
  • Donating towards the per-participant cost.

“There is no business too big or too small to be a partner in Opportunity NOW,” said Charles Story, chair of the Middle Tennessee Workforce Development Board, which oversees the Nashville Career Advancement Center, which is managing Opportunity NOW. “Whether it is hiring a young person for the summer or sponsoring a young person through a contribution to Opportunity NOW, everyone can play their part to ensure we meet the Mayor’s goal of 10,000 youth employed this coming summer.”

Interested employers are encouraged to contact opportunitynow@nashville.gov for more information.

Enrollment for youth applying for employment through Opportunity NOW will begin in January 2017 for the summer program. Mayor Barry has set a goal of giving 10,000 youth, ages 14-24, access to jobs or meaningful, paid internships by the summer of 2017.