Vocational Education Column
Six cities will receive $180,000 each from a Baltimore-based philanthropy to help young adults in poor communities acquire the skills needed to enter the job market.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation announced late last month the 15-month planning grants to foundations and community groups in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle, and St. Louis.
"Growing numbers of young adults lack any real connection to jobs that provide the income and benefits needed to support dependent children," said Douglas W. Nelson, the foundation's executive director.
He added that "links between low-income people and solid job opportunities can create a community environment that contributes to the formation of intact families and better life outcomes for disadvantaged children and families."
The initiative, aimed at people ages 18 to 34, is expected to help break down barriers to finding work, including inadequate education and training.
The local organizations must obtain matching public and private funding to carry out their programs. Each city will be eligible for a grant of $700,000 annually for the next seven years to implement its plans.
In a show of entrepreneurial zeal, the National Business Education Association has recruited a young actor who plays a businessman to promote a grassroots public-service campaign. The campaign is intended to make young people aware of how business education can help them succeed.
Matthew Broderick, the star of the Broadway revival of the musical "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," gives young people advice on what courses to take to become successful business leaders.
"Take finance to understand cash flow and credit lines," he advises. "Take marketing to understand how to take a product to market. Take accounting, and you'll know the numbers. Take management for 'people skills."'
Janet M. Trachel, the NBEA's executive director, cited a 1994 poll indicating that although nearly 70 percent of high school students said they wanted to start their own businesses, 85 percent knew "practically nothing" about how business works.
"In a world where big business is sending lower-skilled jobs abroad, and big government is shrinking while it also cuts jobs," she said, "young people need basic business skills now more than ever."
Copies of the public-service spot, posters, and computer mouse pads are available from the NBEA, 1914 Association Drive, Reston, Va. 22901-1596; (703) 860-8300.