UCAN represents social service non-profit sector at Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., recently announced 21 grants to founding partners for the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund in communities across the United States. The grants encourage cross-sector collaboration to better create workforce and educational progress for Americans 16-24 who are out of school and out of work, or “opportunity youth.” As a supplement to the funding initiative, grantees were invited to a conference in Aspen, Colorado, to discuss what initiatives needed to be taken to make the mission a reality.
As one of the grant recipients, The Mayor’s Office of Education was asked to attend the conference and represent Chicago. Among the six representatives at the conference, UCAN President Zack Schrantz was invited by the Mayor’s Office as the only representative of the private, social service non-profit sector. UCAN was a logical choice because of our facilitation of the PeaceHub, convening of one of the THRIVE workgroups, and our overall mission.
Schrantz explained the most exciting part of the conference was, “We were really learning and finding out what was going on through other presenters. Coming back to Chicago and building a stronger awareness of what is going on and what needs to be done.”
Since November, UCAN has been investigating what it can do to put the initiatives into practice. The hope of the retreat is that by implementing the concepts discussed that it can lead to larger funding in the future. Schrantz explained, “What I came away with most was the pathway to careers kids just don’t get. While they are younger and while they are in school, there should be more of an exploration of careers and what they want to do.”