It’s time to bring the OpportunitySD community together again for Opportunity Summit—our annual gathering of community and young adult leaders to mobilize action to reduce youth disconnection in the San Diego region. This year’s Opportunity Summit—happening Thursday, May 2 at the Town and Country—will feature inspirational speakers, tangible on-site action and tools and solutions and strategies that you can use once you leave the summit.
And as always with OpportunitySD, the voices, ideas, energy and power of youth themselves will be integrated into every feature of the day.
Since we launched OpportunitySD in 2017, the level of awareness and priority around opportunity youth in the San Diego region has risen dramatically and stakeholders better understand the deep systemic issues—from education to criminal justice and beyond—that prevent young adults from staying connected to school and work. Now that our foundation is strong with community partners all across the region, it is time to accelerate and expand our collective efforts and fight together for changes that will help youth transition smoothly from high school through post-secondary education and into the workforce in a living wage job with upward mobility.
Powerhouse mainstage speakers
All 800 Opportunity Summit attendees will together experience three incredible mainstage presentations. With testimony from young adults woven throughout, each mainstage session taps both local and national talent to raise the level of urgency and purpose.
The morning session will feature Dr. Gentry Patrick, professor and neurobiologist in UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences, who will share inspiring insights from his journey from Compton to a professor leading a new effort to support underrepresented students in undergraduate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors.
The midday plenary will focus on employers’ role in supporting opportunity youth. We are thrilled to feature Audrey Williams-Lee, Hyatt VP of Corporate Human Resources & Global Philanthropy, to discuss Hyatt’s recent announcement of RiseHY, through which the hotel chain will hire at least 10,000 opportunity youth by 2025. Audrey Williams-Lee will talk about her role advising for C-suite executives and their leadership teams and leading the development and implementation of workforce and talent strategies. She also leads Hyatt’s community engagement and social impact efforts and directs the company’s philanthropy strategy and approach to charitable giving.
In the afternoon we are tapping into the power of audio to spark social change. Sarah Koenig—host and co-creator of the award-winning podcast Serial—will join us to discuss the implications of Serial’s most recent season, which shines a spotlight on the criminal justice system. Launched in 2014, Serial is credited with bringing mainstream attention to the podcast format and has been downloaded more than 420 million times, making it the most listened to podcast in history. Among other honors, Serial won the 2014 Peabody Award, the first time the award has been given to a podcast. In 2015 Koenig was named one of Time Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People.”
In response to attendees’ feedback from prior years, we designed breakout sessions that are audience-specific in the morning to allow educators, employers, young adults and youth advocates to learn, brainstorm best practices and network together. Then afternoon breakout sessions and workshops focus on critical issues related to youth disconnection.
Some of this year’s breakout sessions include:
- Helping employers to think differently about what talent looks like, where they look for it and how to create talent pipelines that are inclusive of opportunity youth
- Creating an integrated youth system to enable communities to shift away from a reactive approach to providing care toward proactive, holistic, person-centered care
- The importance of healthy mentorship for young adults in work, school and community, and how it can prevent youth disconnection and help reconnect young adults to work and school
- A session on youth homelessness will be led by the Taskforce on Homelessness’s Youth Action Board and their work to design a coordinated system that can end youth homelessness
More details to come on the full lineup of breakout sessions and speakers soon!
The experts leading these sessions have been tasked with not only presenting an issue but offering tangible solutions and ideas that we—collectively and individually— can turn into action.
Most importantly, we will continue to ensure each breakout session will highlight youth voice and leadership. It is imperative to include the youth voice in this conversation—what do they think, need, want, worry about? Throughout the day we’ll hear from young people about what they believe is causing disconnection and how to use work, education and community to engage opportunity youth.
Creative arts by Movement BE
Audience favorite Movement BE will support the Workforce Partnership to integrate performing and visual arts with the purpose of elevating the voices and perspectives of young adults and foster a creative and open mindset among attendees as they learn about and tackle youth disconnection in the San Diego region.
The performances will highlight the journey of our region’s young adults and is another opportunity to hear young adults speak boldly about their lives, passions and aspirations.
Ready to join us? Registration is $50 for general admission and $35 for group admission (6 or more).
Contact Erics@workforce.org for more information.