Summit connects agencies serving millennials

Howie NextGen Summit speaker and audienceThe first-ever NextGen Opportunity Summit held Tuesday in Joplin connected dozens of agency stakeholders that serve youth and young adults. Attendees united around three common goals for the summit to reach and engage young adults in ways that matter, increase knowledge of tools and resources available, and identify strategies and techniques agencies could join together. The summit is an important feature for implementation of youth/young adult strategies across the Four-State Region for the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act.

Summit Recap

The summit launched with a welcome message by Brad Baker from U.S. Bank and chairman for the Workforce Innovation Board along with a call to action opening from Marv Pichla of Inspiring Innovations, Inc. The first two panel presenters helped the audience see the potential of micro-enterprise initiatives as a workforce strategy for millennials. Janet Miller from Cherokee County (KS) Economic Development highlighted the success of youth entrepreneurship competitions and the impact of youth considering small business development as a career pathway. Mike Fohner of Youth Strategies in Springdale, AR provided an overview of social enterprises in three different ventures and the effectiveness of wrap-around services for youth at work in the ventures at Youth Strategies.

For the employer panel, Phyllis Craig from the Independent Living Center shared her positive experience with employing youth. Corin Berryhill from the Carpenters Apprenticeship showcased the powerful outcomes of work-based learning and the ongoing strong outlook for the commercial construction sector. The summit debuted a new testimonial video on the success of youth internships in the Monett area.

Following a brief update on the SectorReady initiative by Jasen Jones, Eddie Stephens of Crowder College and Mark Turnbull from the Joplin Regional Partnership provided creative career strategies for pathways and credentialing. Eddie covered the evolution of short-term, non-credit programs at Crowder, a successful employer-sponsored apprenticeship at Branco Construction, and the necessity for education at all levels to implement competency-based, employer-driven outcomes. Mark’s presentation continued the theme of competency-based training with lessons learned at Labette Community College along with the new EarnMore.biz campaign underway through the partnership.

As summit attendees enjoyed fellowship over lunch, Howard Nunnelly from New Life Radio 105.3 and Impact Life Church gave an energetic keynote presentation on reaching and changing the lives of millennials. The final hour of the summit provided three tabletop breakouts to generate ideas around the categories of creative partnerships, community service opportunities, and youth entrepreneurship.

Summit Resources