The Mayor’s Youth Initiate is my dual-pronged plan to get young people involved in the community and exposed to the workforce. This generation of young people is the largest in world history and their preparedness for the modern economy is vital for their own well-being and the future of Cedar Rapids.
First, I want to re-establish the Mayor’s Youth Council, an advisory board of local students ages 16-24 who meet with me monthly. Young people at this age are most susceptible to the changes in this city, by keeping them involved we are keeping our city safe. I want to open the door for our bright, young citizens to have a voice in their government. This body will allow young people to bring their needs and safety concerns directly to their government.
The Youth Council also exposes young people to opportunities for improving our community. By investing in our youth we are preparing them to step into the leadership of the community, for decades to come. It was this community that gave me the resources to travel to Washington and work in government, but far too many bright, young people miss the opportunity to access these resources.
Secondly, my youth engagement plan involves partnering with local businesses. Making sure our young people have more resources to succeed than anywhere else in the country.
I want to give every business in Cedar Rapids that is interested in growing their brand the resources to do so. Capable young people will be matched to businesses in need through an internship/externship and volunteer network with the local high schools and community centers. Businesses will be empowered to train a new generation for the real needs of the workforce, and student can bring their knowledge of modern technology and social media to help expose businesses to new practices and consumer bases.
I also want to provide young people in Cedar Rapids with a database and the resources to identify and apply for the professional development programs that exist all over the country. To realize this network we as a community can bring our networks together and enable our young people with access to information and resources. If a young person wants to apply to an internship at Google, Facebook, study abroad, work in New York, Washington or Texas, I want to partner with our neighbors to make sure they can bring those skills back to Cedar Rapids.
Program subsidies for out-of-town experiences will come with the requirement that students return to Cedar Rapids for a comparable time to invest their skills back into building the community. Through partnership, and with minimal investment, this type of program can help to make sure Cedar Rapids has the best business and government resources in the country.