Earn & Learn
Opportunity youth are young adults, ages 18 to 24, who are neither in school nor employed. In New Orleans proper, there are nearly 7,000 opportunity youth, the third highest rate among metros in the U.S. Reconnecting these young adults to education and career pathways allows us to tap into their creativity and potential contributions to the community.
The Cowen Institute believes that every young person deserves the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, which is why we work to reconnect these young people to career pathways and supports. We focus on meeting young adults’ immediate needs and fueling their future aspirations in order to support them in becoming economically prosperous. Our training emphasizes the skills imperative to career readiness and upward mobility, not just job readiness. We work hand-in-hand with employers to pinpoint opportunities for upward mobility and professional development. By tailoring our program to the specific skills and needs of the youth and employers involved, we further our city’s ability to generate economic development.
Earn and Learn Career Pathways
Established in 2014, The Earn and Learn Career Pathways program is a paid pre-apprenticeship program for New Orleans opportunity youth that provides on-the-job training in high-demand local industries; a paid full- or part-time job connected to a career pathway; soft and technical skills training; industry-based certifications; career coaching; wraparound support like bus passes, childcare stipends, and connection to mental health services; and ongoing engagement post-graduation.
Participants dedicate 4-6 months (25-40 hours per week) to the programâ€”hours are spent working in paid pre-apprenticeships with local employers and 4 hours per week are spent in the classroom engaging in academic, technical, and social emotional coursework led by the Cowen Institute. Earn and Learn expanded from one cohort with Tulane as the single employer partner in 2014 to three cohorts working with employers across New Orleans in the facilities management and information technology (Tulane), hospitality (Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Doubletree New Orleans, and the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group), and construction (Gallo Mechanical) industries.
Because we’re diversifying and growing a pipeline of local talent, it’s a win for employers, too. Earn and Learn is deeply enmeshed in our city’s present and future and was developed with input from leaders in New Orleans’ local and regional economic development field. Since 2014, we’ve supported over 100 youth as they have jumpstarted their careers. For more questions or information, please contact Faith Robinson, Earn and Learn Program Coordinator, via email or at 504-274-3629.