Youthforce NOLA


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“The work YouthForce NOLA is doing with students in New Orleans is invaluable in preparing them for life beyond high school. By bringing together expertise and resources, they are expanding opportunities for every student in New Orleans to be on a pathway to prosperity and employment.” – Patrick Dobard, Superintendent of the Recovery School District


“This commitment by YouthForce NOLA is a strong example of public engagement and the community supporting our public school students in New Orleans. Investing in teaching real-world skills will equip our students with the experiences and values they need for success in life.” – Dr. Henderson Lewis, Superintendent of Orleans Parish Schools

“YouthForce NOLA expands our ability to prepare students for their futures; more students will earn industry recognized credentials and more will be prepared for post-secondary pathways because of this support.” – Warren Easton Charter High School Principal Alexina Medley



Real-World Skills. Real-Life Success.

What is YouthForce NOLA?

YouthForce NOLA is an education, business and civic partnership to better connect New Orleans public school students to career pathways in high-wage, high-demand fields. YouthForce NOLA exposes, prepares, and connects participating students to careers in regional high-paying industries. By providing grant funding and technical assistance to high schools, combined with industry exposure and preparation for students, YouthForce NOLA’s approach creates a demand-driven career readiness model that will connect New Orleans students with regional economic opportunity.

YouthForce NOLA is focused on career pathways in three, high-wage, high-demand regional industry clusters:

  • bio & health sciences (including bioinnovation and medical professions),
  • digital media/tech (including IT, software development, and graphic design), and
  • skilled crafts (including architecture, construction, advanced manufacturing, and engineering).

YouthForce NOLA connects our students to regional high-wage, high-demand opportunities by:

  • Partnering with schools to redesign their programming to offer career pathways programs of study.
  • Engaging employers to inform programming and host an array of work-based learning experiences.
  • Running a rigorous, paid internship program for high school seniors.
  • Engaging the broader community in supporting students, schools, and employers in this work.

Our guiding belief is that this work – when done well – will prepare an increasing percentage of New Orleans graduates for success in both college and career.

Watch our new YouthForce NOLA Video!

Why YouthForce NOLA?
  • While New Orleans has seen unprecedented improvement in student academic performance, the region nevertheless has the nation’s third highest percentage of youth aged 16-24 who are neither in school nor working.
  • There are approximately 70,000 high-wage, high-skill, high-demand jobs that will come available in the greater New Orleans region in the next ten years, yet currently few of our graduates have neither the connections nor the skills to obtain these jobs.
  • YouthForce NOLA will increase student engagement, high school graduation rates, and two- and four-year degree attainment.
  • A recent study found that students completing rigorous career readiness programming are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, be employed, and earn higher wages (Dougherty, 2016; download here).

Who is YouthForce NOLA?

YouthForce NOLA is an education, business, and civic partnership.

Partner Steering Committee: Twelve organizations comprise the YouthForce NOLA Partner Steering Committee, including New Orleans’ two school districts, workforce and economic development organizations, community advisory groups, and philanthropic partners. Educate Now! serves as the convener, staff, and fiscal agent for YouthForce NOLA. Click here to see members of the YouthForce NOLA Partner Steering Committee.

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Schools: YouthForce NOLA works closely with open-enrollment public high schools in Orleans Parish, selected through a comprehensive application process. YouthForce NOLA will select additional cohorts of schools annually, with a goal of partnering with at least 12 high schools through implementation. 

Students: YouthForce NOLA runs a rigorous, paid internship program for high school seniors and facilitates additional programming with employers on behalf of partner schools.

Click here to read press releases about YouthForce NOLA.

“I feel as though my experience with YouthForce has prepared me for a world that I never would have been prepared for on my own.”
– YouthForce 2015 Intern

“I love the people I met. I have a whole new network. I have confidence in myself. And I plan to take my skills of professionalism further to another business.”
– YouthForce 2015 Intern

“The YouthForce students were quick to pick up on the tasks that we put in front of them. In addition, because the students came to us having had soft-skills and general professional skills training, they were easily accepted and welcomed into our workforce.” 

– Search Influence, YouthForce 2015 Employer


Educate Now! serves as the convener, staff, and fiscal agent for YouthForce NOLA.

To find out more, email us!