According to research by Georgetown’s Center for Education and the Workforce, it is predicted that by 2020 approximately 65% of all available jobs will require some postsecondary education or training. Yet, there are young people who are being excluded from these opportunities because they are not on a pathway that includes education and workforce training that will adequately prepare them for these jobs.
This forum follows the release of Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth in Connecticut and Michigan. AYPF staff was joined by leading practitioners and advocates from these states to discuss the challenges and opportunities of this work. AYPF offered a brief summary of the reports and key takeaways for a national audience and our panelists will engage a discussion around their work, policy recommendations, and strategies moving forward.
Michele Corey, VP of Programs, Michigan’s Children
Kristin Harrington, Senior Director of Talent Enhancement, Kinexus Workforce Development Division
Bob Rath, President/CEO, Our Piece of the Pie
With 15 years of experience at Michigan’s Children, Michele has created numerous opportunities for local advocates to become better informed about children’s issues and communicate effectively with local, state, and federal level policymakers. Michele has been a leader in statewide dropout and recovery initiatives focused on producing multiple pathways to graduation by growing better data about young people and the systems that serve them, providing better educational options for young people, and building public support for policy and practice that sustain those options.
Kristin Harrington is the Senior Director of Talent Enhancement for Kinexus, a Michigan-based non-profit that promotes economic vitality through the integration of business, workforce, and community development. As a workforce division leader, she serves as the Director of Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates, a state-based dropout prevention program targeting successful graduation and transition into employment and/or post-secondary education. The program currently operates in 21 Michigan cities serving 765 students with a 96% graduation rate. Also under her leadership is the Kinexus Bridge Academy, an innovative vocational and academic training center for opportunity youth located in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Kristin’s experiences have centered on urban education and workforce training ranging from kindergarten through career. As a Teach for America corps member and AmeriCorps Service Volunteer, Kristin spent three years teaching kindergarten on Chicago’s South Side and in Gary, IN. She was honored with a Teach for America nomination for the Sue Lehman Award for Excellence in Teaching. Following her Teach for America service, Kristin relocated with her husband back to Michigan where she joined the Kinexus team. Kristin serves on the organization’s Executive Leadership team and has held varying roles, including youth development, fund acquisition, American Job Center operations, and strategic leadership. Kristin holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Dominican University and is currently completing a second Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Bob Rath is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Our Piece of the Pie®, Inc. (OPP®), based in Hartford, Connecticut. With more than 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, Bob led the transformation of OPP into a youth development organization intently focused on helping urban youth, ages 14-24, become economically independent adults. Bob currently serves as Chair for Communities Collaborating to Reconnect Youth (CCRY); serves on the Board for Reaching At Promise Students Association (RAPSA); the CT Employment and Training Commission Youth Committee; and has been a member of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce since 2006.