Opportunity Tulsa exists to disrupt the cycle of economic injustice by creating pathways to employment for underrepresented youth.
We envision a world where every youth has equitable access to the resources they need to actualize their full potential.
Savvy business leaders are realizing revenue increases, cash savings, and tangible workforce improvements by tapping into the potential of 16- to 24-year-old workers. These companies span a range of industries: communications, manufacturing, retail, health care, government, and financial services, and vary in size from small local firms to global powerhouses. Their leaders report that investments in young adult workers pay off by addressing critical business problems in four important ways:
- They create a robust pipeline of their company’s next generation of talent.
- They fill critical skills gaps.
- They increase workforce diversity that enables greater customer connection.
- They spur innovation.
Despite these considerable advantages, the potential of young adult workers seems to be a well-kept secret. While 40% of U.S. employers struggle to fill more than 5 million open jobs, 2 6 million young adults are neither working nor in school. In December 2014, 16- to 19-year-olds faced an unemployment rate of 16.8% and 20- to 24-year-olds faced a rate of 10.8%, both far above the overall rate of 5.6%.
Nearly all young people (98.6 percent) hold at least one job between the ages of 18 and 25. The average young person holds 6.3 jobs between 18 and 25. Some work part-time or summers only, while others see full-time permanent employment as their path to economic independence. Employment can be beneficial for youth by teaching responsibility, organization, and time management and helping to establish good work habits, experience, and financial stability. There are many advantages to working during high school, especially for low-income youth, including higher employment rates and wages in later teen years and lower probabilities of dropping out of high school. Knowing how to find and keep a job is not only critical for admission to the adult world but also is an important survival skill for which there is little in the way of formal, structured preparation.
IRS 990-N (pdf)