Mayor highlights FY22 budget investments for city’s youth

July 22, 2021

Mayor Greg Fischer today joined Metro Councilman Jecorey Arthur, Dr. Billie Castle with the Office of Youth Development, KentuckianaWorks Executive Director Michael Gritton, SummerWorks Program Director Chris Locke, and Brittany Brown with the Coalition Supporting Young Adults to highlight the fiscal year 2022 budget investments benefiting the city’s youth.

“It is critical that we provide more pathways to create and foster opportunity for our youth because we know every young person deserves the chance to cultivate their talents and reach their full potential,” said the Mayor. “My office and our Metro Council are fully committed and invested in not only educating underserved youth on their options but helping them reach their goals and fulfill their dreams, thus planting the seed and building the foundation for success.”

The approved FY2022 budget focuses on a “whole-of-government” approach to becoming a safer, cleaner and healthier city.  This includes investing in youth, especially underserved youth, with investments in post-secondary education and workforce development initiatives, as well as investments in organizations that provide much needed support systems for young people.

Acknowledging that education is the No. 1 disrupter of poverty, this year’s budget invests $3 million in Evolve502 Promise scholarships and doubles the budget for SummerWorks to $1 million. The budget also doubles the funding to support the city’s Office of Youth Development (OYD). The $1 million expansion will fund staffing for community outreach to meet the unique needs of youth between age 10 – 15, ensuring they and their support systems are connected to resources.

“Louisville is home to a diverse population of young people who are innovative, thoughtful, resourceful, and shining stars,” said Dr. Castle, Youth Development Systems Administrator, Office of Youth Development. “With more than 145,000 youth residents, it is the OYD’s mission to ensure they live happy and healthy lives, by being the backbone of the youth development infrastructure for our city. The investment in OYD is an investment in creating opportunities to connect Louisville’s youth to recreational programs, services, and resources that help them achieve their goals.”

The budget also supports the expansion of the Louisville Youth Network, a one-stop shop for youth resources that the Mayor’s Office, Metro Council and community partners launched in the spring of 2021. OYD leads the Network with partners that include the Coalition Supporting Young Adults, the Louisville Urban League and Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. Since its launch in May, the Youth Network has handled 256 referrals, and 99 youth have been assigned an Empowerment Navigator. The expansion of the Network will broaden its reach to connect with youth ages 10-24, and youth who are not among those traditionally tracked as disconnected.

"There is a generation of young people in this community that need us to live up to the words and mantras we have espoused around this city for so long," said Sadiqa Reynolds, President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League. "Programs like the Louisville Youth Network are one way we can do that – intentionally connecting these young people to vital, beneficial resources based on their specific needs and desires, and not what the 'adults' think is best."

During today’s press conference, the Coalition Supporting Young Adults showcased one of five LouieConnect kiosks that have been placed in youth-focused locations to connect youth with vital resources. The kiosks are free to use and located at AMPED (1219 W. Jefferson St, Suite 206), Americana Community Center (4801 Southside Dr.), YouthBuild (800 S. Preston St.), California Community Center (1600 S. Catherine St.), and Southwick Community Center (3621 Southern Ave.)

The FY22 budget also invests in KentuckianaWorks’ Reimage program and the Kentucky Youth Career Center. The Reimage program helps break the cycle of incarceration and recidivism by connecting justice-involved youth to education, training and careers in key industries like IT and manufacturing. So far, more than 800 young people have enrolled in the Reimage program, and participants’ recidivism rate in their first year has remained under 10 percent. The national average is 44 percent.

“So that tells us this program works,” the Mayor said.

Since 2009, KentuckianaWorks has also run the Kentucky Youth Career Center, which has helped more than 3,000 young people navigate life challenges and access job and career readiness resources.

"The Reimage program and the Kentucky Youth Career Center are proud to be part of the Mayor and Metro Council's investment portfolio focused on helping young adults who are facing barriers gain the skills and support they need to build successful lives," said Michael Gritton, Executive Director of KentuckianaWorks, the region's Workforce Board. "We have helped thousands of young adults get their lives back on track through education and training programs, and by gaining employment, and we're excited to do more in the coming year as we recover from the pandemic and return to in-person services."

“An investment in our youth is an investment in our community’s success for now and in the future, making Louisville a safer, more prosperous and more equitable city,” said the Mayor. “I encourage our residents with young people in their lives, please reach out and connect them with these resources and resource providers.”

Find out more about these initiatives by visiting:

Office of Youth Development

Louisville Youth Network

Reimage

Kentucky Youth Career Center

SummerWorks

Evolve502

AMPED Business Incubator

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