Today, we’re hosting our Charlotte YouthSpark Connections event at the Johnson C. Smith University. The event features a conversation with prominent leaders from education, government and the civic community to discuss findings from a recent study on the youth opportunity divide in Charlotte.
As part of the event, the Brookings Institution will share new Microsoft-sponsored research on the state of youth education and opportunity in the Charlotte area. The new research finds that one in four 16 to 24 year-olds in the Charlotte area are not in school and lack anything above a high school diploma. Of that group, nearly half are also unemployed. Meanwhile, many jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are vacant because employers cannot find workers with the skills they need.
With this research in mind, leaders from Microsoft, area non-profits, representatives from the local school systems, and the Mayor’s office will share ideas and provide examples about how they are addressing the unique challenges facing Charlotte area youth. In addition, the event will feature stories of area youth who have overcome the opportunity divide.
Aisha Davis a YouthSpark panelist and Johnson C. Smith University senior will share how Microsoft youth programs helped her learn real-world business and technology skills. As a result of her work, Ms. Davis has accepted a post-graduate position at Microsoft as a Technical Account Manager. Her role will include assisting companies that are using Microsoft technology to ensure they get the most out of their investments.
During today’s event, Microsoft will also provide details on its YouthSpark initiative, a three year commitment to help create 300 million opportunities for young people around the world, and take time to highlight its ongoing work in the Charlotte area.
Event panelists include:
- Lenny Springs, Federal Student Aid Senior Advisor, White House Department of Education,
- Senator Malcolm Graham, Appropriations on Education/Higher Education Committee, NC General Assembly
- Dr. Heath Morrison, Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
- Tichina Arnold, Actress & Education Advocate
- Mike Rucker, Retired NFL Carolina Panther & Game Commentator
- Aisha Davis, Senior, Johnson C. Smith University & Microsoft Academy of College Hires (Summer 2013)
- Dawn Hill, Manager, Mayor’s Youth Employment Program
Please view Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx’s video address, where he conveys his excitement about the YouthSpark program and how it will benefit Charlotte residents.