Understanding how soft skills that can be developed through sports -- for example ethics, attitudes and communications -- are relevant to the world of work provides an interesting perspective on youth employability.
Zeenat Rahman knows the "demographic youth bulge is an opportunity not a burden." She promotes positive youth engagement and meaningful interactions through story-telling, policy initiatives and private sector partnerships focusing on mentorship and entrepreneurship.
Here in Omaha, we've partnered with two other local foundations, the university and city government to support a summer employment program for youth ages 15-18 with no prior work experience who live in the most impoverished neighborhoods.
Employers aren't stupid (except the ones that crow "We only hire Ivy Leaguers!"). They know that kids who know who they are, what they want, and how to deal with life on the ground make the best new hires.
Studying still matters. Hard work still matters. Passion still matters. But unless we help our young people develop the world-class skills required by our global economy, there's a good chance it won't work out. And that's a tragedy for everyone involved.
This summer, teenagers are going to be looking for work, but about one in five won't find a job. The teen unemployment rate -- currently at 23.7 percent nationally -- is the highest for any group in the U.S.