Mayor, Council members launch Louisville Youth Network to connect Louisville’s underserved youth with jobs, education and more
Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville Metro Council and community partners today announced the launch the Network for Youth Development and Community Building, or Louisville Youth Network, to help connect youth in need of support to local resources and services.
The Louisville Youth Network is a free, one-stop shop for sharing what services and programs are available to Louisville’s youth (ages 16-24) who are not in school, working, or simply need support. Through the Network, youth will have the opportunity to receive wrap-around services, support, and mentorship from a collaboration of multiple partners.
“Investing in our youth, especially traditionally underserved youth, is an investment in our community’s success,” Mayor Fischer said. “We believe every young person deserves the chance to cultivate their talents and reach their full potential, and the Network can help them to do just that. This comprehensive support system will provide better access to education and workforce opportunities to help underserved youth succeed in school, career, civic life, and to enjoy an overall full and productive life."
Mayor Fischer noted that the Network and other programs offering support for young people are key to the city’s public safety efforts by working remove barriers that prevent young people from living equitable, healthy, and happy lives. In his Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget recommendation, the Mayor has proposed a “whole of government” approach to public safety that includes $2 million for the Office of Youth Development.
To access the Network, young people can visit http://louisvilleyouthnetwork.org/ to complete a client profile and select services they are interested in receiving support. An Empowerment Navigator will respond to connect youth with appropriate resources, and to help create and achieve goals. Youth can also reach out by calling (502) 230-2028 to start the process.
The Network offers resources on a myriad of topics, including:
- Education and workforce development
- Childcare and food assistance
- Transportation and housing
- Crisis management and peer support
- Budgeting and financial management
- Physical, mental and behavioral health
- Substance abuse treatment
The Network is led by the Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development, part of the city’s Office of Resilience and Community Services. Core partners include the Coalition Supporting Young Adults (CSYA), Louisville Urban League, and Goodwill Industries of Kentucky.
Last year, Mayor Fischer proposed, and the Metro Council approved, a $1-million allocation in Metro Government FY 21 Budget to expand youth initiatives and create a comprehensive continuum of care that support youth, leading to the creation of the Network.
Working with the city’s Resilience and Community Services and Management and Budget offices to look at gaps in the city’s service to disconnected youth, Council members Keisha Dorsey (D-3), Nicole George (D-21), and James Peden (D-23) sponsored a resolution to utilize this funding in the “Creating Structures of Support for System-Involved Youth” grant funding opportunity announced last fall.
George said: “The Louisville Youth Network is a partnership that offers the opportunity to shore up gaps in the existing service array through planful assessment of need, coordination of services, and evaluation of outcomes to learn best practices. By investing in today’s youth to address disconnection and trauma, we have the opportunity to positively impact many of the long term challenges facing our community including health and safety.”
Through this application process, 16 youth services applicants were considered, and the three awardees — CYSA, Urban League and Goodwill — were selected for their demonstrated focus in at least one of the following areas: centralization, client-centered case management, outreach and peer support.
“There are many community resources targeted for youth in Louisville, but it is not always easy to find the one that fits,” said Dr. Billie Castle, Acting Director for the Office of Youth Development (OYD), “The Louisville Youth Network will make it quicker and easier for young people to find the programs and services to help them reach their goals. And trained navigators are available to stay in touch to offer support as needed. We are working to build a comprehensive network that focuses on providing support to retain services and change outcomes for Louisville’s youth.“
For more information, visit http://louisvilleyouthnetwork.org/ or contact Mahogany Mayfield, Youth Services Coordinator for OYD, at [email protected].