For the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the largest and first organization in the U.S. supporting LGBTQ+ youth, unleashing a young person’s potential involves creating a safe space for personal development while equipping them for the future of work.
Not only is it critical for a young person to have a safe space, there’s a great need for them to develop skills to reach their full potential. With support from Fossil Foundation, HMI designed its career readiness program to reduce the particular effects of harassment and abuse that LGBTQ+ youth often face while charting a new career path. The program offers multiple tiers of employment training in areas like security, retail, hospitality, STEM-related fields and more. Two years ago, HMI also launched a Queer Coders digital learning program that offers training and networking opportunities with professionals in the technology and science industries.
Beyond technical skills, the foundation of HMI’s job readiness training is built on fostering essential skills—confidence, self-advocacy, collaboration and independence—and helping youth understand why they matter. Here are three skills HMI fosters in young people to help them chart their own paths:
“Through HMI, I learned how to manage myself professionally as well as build relationships with brands through networking. As I’m starting a small business and representing myself as an artist and entrepreneur, I’ve gained skills like marketing, budgeting, projecting needs, and creating revenue.”
Jayne, Job Readiness Training Intern
“HMI’s job readiness training placed me in an internship that taught me ‘code switching’ and gave me a vocabulary to understand ways people try to meet expectations of a professional work environment. We learned how professionalism is often rooted in oppression and how we can find community at work.”
Adrian, Job Readiness Training Intern
Building New Career Paths:
“Before going into Queer Coders, I was very unsure of what my career path would be. I could not see myself fitting into the cookie cutter mold of what a professional looked like, especially in the tech industry where there is a lack of diversity. When I joined Queer Coders, I learned professionalism, the concept of code switching and what a work environment is like. This was very empowering and a motivation for me to aim higher in terms of my career goals. Queer Coders gave me the confidence to recognize as a women of color, I can still strive in a male-dominated industry.”
Kayla, Queer Coders Participant
SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday, March 27, 2019 – Today, Fossil Foundation, Pearson, Accenture’s The Dock, and Unreasonable Group launch the first Unreasonable FUTURE program. Unreasonable FUTURE is a bold initiative that will connect 15 growth-stage ventures with investors, policy makers, serial entrepreneurs, executives, and thought leaders to ensure the future of work is inclusive.
For over five years, the Fossil Foundation has been on a mission to close the global opportunity gap by unleashing the power of underserved youth. During this time, we’ve built strong partnerships with some of the most innovative social impact organizations in the world—all addressing the challenges young people are facing today and helping them prepare for tomorrow.
So far, the Fossil Foundation has improved the lives of more than 750,000 young people. But this isn’t enough. We’re living through the biggest economic and technological shifts in human history, and underserved youth are at risk of being left further behind. To respond to today’s unique challenges, we must evolve the way we invest in and tackle this pressing global issue.
The Era Of Disruption
We now know that the same technological breakthroughs that are changing the way all of us connect, play and work are also impacting the future of the world’s 1.8 billion young people. Disruptive technologies, including automation and AI, will disproportionately affect underserved youth and may eliminate many current onramps to employment. Consider these statistics:
By 2020, more than ⅓ of desired skill sets of most jobs will be comprised of skills not yet considered crucial today.
Jobs likely to be displaced worldwide through automation between 2018 and 2020
By 2025, more than half of all current workplace tasks will be performed by machines—further diminishing already reduced opportunities.
These changes will also bring tremendous new opportunities. As jobs are displaced, as many as 133 million new roles will likely be created. It’s up to us to help prepare underserved young people for a changing world of work.
The Era Of Disruption
We now know that the same technological breakthroughs that are changing the way all of us connect, play and work are also impacting the future of the world’s 1.8 billion young people. Disruptive technologies, including automation and AI, will disproportionately affect underserved youth and may eliminate many current onramps to employment. These changes will also bring tremendous new opportunities. As jobs are displaced, as many as 133 million new roles will likely be created. It’s up to us to help prepare underserved young people for a changing world of work.
We’re proud to introduce Unreasonable FUTURE, a movement designed to help underserved youth thrive in the new economy. Led by Unreasonable Group, Unreasonable FUTURE is a collaboration between Fossil Foundation, Pearson and Accenture that will reshape how underserved youth learn, work and succeed.
Together, we have an ambition to impact one million young lives by 2021.
We believe that today’s pathways (from learning to working to succeeding) don’t work well for underserved youth, and have yet to be defined for the future of work. At the heart of the Unreasonable FUTURE movement is the goal to create new pathways that unlock human potential and create better opportunities for the world’s youth.
Together, we have a lot of work to do. We are eager to launch this new journey with Pearson and Accenture and our friends at Unreasonable Group.
Stay tuned for a peek into the launch of Unreasonable FUTURE. We’re looking forward to sharing updates along the way.
Global Head of Sustainability and Philanthropy
*source: Future of Jobs 2018, World Economic Forum
How can American schools help more underserved youth strive for college and unlock better futures? It’s one of the biggest challenges facing educators today. For Fossil Foundation’s partner, PeerForward, the answer lies in harnessing a special power: peer influence.
For 20+ years, PeerForward (formerly College Summit) has worked with high school students to create better outcomes for their peers in low-income neighborhoods. It has now remodeled its core program and rebranded the whole organization to put peer influence front and center.
Each year, PeerForward trains and coaches new teams of “Peer Leaders” with the potentially life-changing mission of guiding their classmates to enroll in college and helping them navigate the intimidating admissions and financial aid process. We sat down with a few Peer Leaders to understand how they are becoming change agents in their classmates’ lives thanks to the PeerForward program.
Meet Peer Leaders Dionna, Asia, Noella and Jacob:
Senior, Age 18
Senior, Age 18
Senior, Age 17
Senior, Age 17
What does it mean to be a peer leader?
DIONNA: A peer leader is someone who motivates others to do more than what they can do for themselves. It’s motivating your peers to help them step out of their comfort zone.
ASIA: We’re kind of like the delivery men. We give our peers the information they need to be successful in the future.
NOELLA: It’s in the name itself. You have to be able to stand up for your peers around you. If nothing is getting done, you have to make sure that your responsibilities are fulfilled.
JACOB: A Peer Leader is a dynamic innovator and motivator. There are people that need guidance and the peer leader can help others become better people. We don’t want anyone to fail.
Why is it important for young people like yourself to be a peer leader?
NOELLA: Some students may not always be willing to rely on adults. It can feel like adults don’t know what you’re going through. But once you see a student that’s the same age as you in a higher position, they feel more comfortable relying on you because you’re going through the same thing they are.
JACOB: In my community, not many students really respect or listen to their elders because of their environment. But if they see a peer that’s headed in the right direction, you can talk to them and show them that they can do something better with their lives.
Can you describe a memorable moment that you’ve had as a peer leader? What happened?
ASIA: We hosted onsite admissions for a school that didn’t require SAT scores. One boy—who didn’t think he was going to get in—applied, got accepted, and even got a scholarship! We got about 40 students involved and excited about college that day.
JACOB: When our group helped at least 50 seniors sign up for FAFSA (Federal Student Aid) one night, that was a huge success! We didn’t know how many people would show up, so it became such a memorable moment to pass around this knowledge and see the number of people that were actually interested in utilizing our help.
How has being a Peer Leader changed you?
NOELLA: During freshman and sophomore year, I struggled with putting myself out there. PeerForward made me step up and put myself in a position where I needed to reach out, not only to the students, but to the faculty as well. Not only has it given me the leadership to help others and set an example, but it also helped me become more open with others and not afraid to speak up.
JACOB: Being a peer leader has helped me to mature – be more calm and patient with what I do. This process made me realize that you can’t be arrogant because people won’t want to listen to you. You have to genuinely get to know others in order to help them.
What advice do you have for young people?
NOELLA: Young people should always stay on top of their game because college and the workforce always expect something of you. You don’t want to regret not doing anything in high school or in life. Do what you want to do that benefits you and makes you happy.
JACOB: Keep pushing and keep believing, because there’s always a way to get where you want to go. Don’t let anyone stop you from getting you there.
DIONNA: Don’t slack off. If you feel you can do it in your heart, then do it. Also…deadlines are not suggestions!
By Keith Frome
Co-Founder & CEO of PeerForward (formerly College Summit)
We don’t often think of branding as a powerful tool for education reform but it is crucial in driving youth engagement in schools. Applying the power of branding to educational practice offers the field a new approach to driving achievement for all students.
Effective education helps a student define his or her identity. Great brands do the same. In 2015, College Summit undertook a transformational project with Fossil Group and Fossil Foundation that awakened us to the truth about branding: at its core, a brand is a choice about who you want to be. While we might often think of branding as being externally oriented, a powerful brand is, rather, an inward quest for authenticity.
Our partnership with Fossil Foundation has always been collaborative and rooted in the sharing of insights and expertise. When we sat down with members of the Fossil team, we had a frank conversation about the challenge at hand—our brand was not capturing our core mission: to empower students to guide more of their classmates to pursue higher education. This led us to ask ourselves, “How can we express this mission through brand identity?”
Our brand development process started with the program name. We asked, “What concept will galvanize students to lead this movement of college-goers?”
We discussed how educators, teachers, as well as peers already lead students and friends to become the people they are meant to be. We then explored how peers can continue to strengthen their influence to improve life for themselves and others—our core approach—ultimately landing on the program name “PeerForward” to express the idea at the heart of our efforts. We took an iterative approach with Fossil to create the brand identity, resulting in a strong logo with a bold use of color that conveys grit and leadership—qualities the PeerForward program develops in each student.
We now use this PeerForward identity to activate 11th and 12th grade “peer leaders” who conduct campaigns and coach friends (and often their parents) through the key steps high school students need to take to continue their education: creating a college list, following through on multiple applications, completing financial aid forms and making the connection between academic choices and career success.
Just as an educator might tell his or her students to review the material they’ve learned in class, the work that PeerForward and Fossil have undertaken asks the educational system and youth themselves to “re-view” the power of youth.
ACUMEN: The opportunity to invest in women – as leaders, change agents, and key business stakeholders – has never been clearer. Acumen, with support from Unilever, Fossil Foundation, and Danone, is hosting its third Beyond Dialogue workshop today, as part of the Skoll World Forum, to explore precisely this opportunity. Beyond Dialogue: Integrating and Empowering Women in Partnership with Social Enterprises brings together leading corporations, social enterprises, and thought leaders to find new ways to work together to expand the role of women across the business value chain.
Gender inequity and poverty are intertwined, and over the last three years, Acumen has been strengthening its gender focus. This workshop builds on Acumen’s 2015 report Women and Social Enterprises: How Gender Integration Can Boost Entrepreneurial Solutions to Poverty, which explored how social enterprises are engaging with and improving the lives of women and where additional opportunities for gender integration exist.
Each of the sponsoring organizations has committed to partnering with social enterprises, and see business as a force for good and a means to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems, including gender inequity. Katja Freiwald, Director Global Advocacy and Partnerships for Women´s Empowerment & Livelihoods at Unilever, believes that, “Empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do. It is essential to drive social and economic progress, and sustainable business growth for corporations and social enterprises alike. Unilever has long recognized the importance of women to our business as producers, distributors, consumers, employees and societal changemakers. We are a proud signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which we aim to implement throughout our operations.”
Today, Unilever is launching its innovative ASPIRE framework in partnership with the Netherlands-based BoP Innovation Center (BOP Inc.), which lays out a model for making last mile distribution a pathway to build more inclusive markets that support local communities, engage women, and help expand access to critical products and services. More details on the ASPIRE framework and how it can be applied are available here.
Fossil Foundation has joined forces with Acumen on this event based on its commitment to improving the lives of young women and girls around the world. Janiece Evans-Page, Vice President of Global Philanthropy and Sustainability “We are partnering with social entrepreneurs to empower young women with training and education opportunities that build a sustainable livelihood for them and their families.”
Similarly, Danone is working to engage female entrepreneurs in its value chain. Jean-Christophe Laugée, the Vice President of Nature and Cycles Sustainability at Danone says “We cannot build an inclusive economy without women especially given their unique connection to their communities and contribution to the common good. Danone champions gender diversity and women’s empowerment together with entrepreneurship. We created the Danone Ecosystem Fund to support long term locally-led initiatives with positive social, environmental and economic impacts. This fund has led to the creation of 71 projects in 30 countries, many of which specifically address the issue of increasing women’s skills and independence. In total, we have helped empower professionally over 33,000 women to date.”
According to Yasmina Zaidman, Chief Partnerships Officer at Acumen, “This event celebrates the creative ways that business large and small are amplifying opportunities for women, but today we also want to push ourselves to go further.” Acumen has actively sought to build a bridge between corporations and social enterprises that achieve measurable social impact, and lead to more inclusive and sustainable business models.
The Beyond Dialogue Workshop is designed to yield new collaborations, and aims to discuss the role of women as agricultural producers, as agents in last mile distribution models, and as recipients of investment capital through gender lens investing, amongst other topics all rooted in empowering women through inclusive business. Acumen will publish a blog series from the workshop to accelerate learning among corporations and social enterprises seeking to partner.
Since its founding in 2001, Acumen has invested $113 million in 108 innovative enterprises addressing the problems of poverty in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the United States. Acumen’s approach includes not only provision of long-term private equity for early stage social enterprises, but also management support, technical assistance, insights into consumer preferences, and links to business opportunities and partnerships.