During the second week of June, Harvard Business School launched a new initiative titled the Young American Leaders Program, or YALP. The reason? They believe that America’s future economic prosperity will not be determined at the federal level with national policy, but rather at the local level, where cities and towns will lead the world in entrepreneurialism, creating clusters of industry and experimentation.
What does all of this have to do with United Way of Salt Lake? Well, they also happen to believe that the key to local prosperity lies with cross-sector, multi-stakeholder partnerships, so they went searching the country for the cities on the leading edge of this work and UWSL’s Promise Partnerships caught their attention. Due to the incredible Collective Impact work we are a part of (work that collaborates deeply with education, business, government, philanthropy, volunteers, and many more), ten “young American leaders” from Salt Lake were selected to attend the four day conference in Cambridge, joining other cities from across the country.
Martin Bates — Superintendent, Granite School District
Amber Clayton — Principal, Granger Elementary School
Jose Enriquez — Founder & Executive Director, Latinos in Action
Greg Hughes — Speaker, Utah House of Representatives
Scott McLeod — Senior Director, Network Partnerships, United Way of Salt Lake
John Miller — Assistant General Manager, Mark Miller Toyota
Mikelle Moore — Vice President, Community Benefit, Intermountain Healthcare
Jon Pierpont — Executive Director, Utah Department of Workforce Services
Jennifer Smith — Executive Vice President, Zions Bancorporation
Thomas Wright — President, Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
During the sessions, the Utah cohort did not just absorb information and instruction—though both were incredible—we also took the opportunity to do some real work. Taking advantage of the expertise and resources of those present, our team committed to linking 5,000 highly-impacted youth onto career paths and employment using the utahfutures.org website, the Latinos in Action infrastructure, and connections to real employers looking for talented youngsters. We will keep you updated on this work as we progress!
Prior to beginning our Young American Leaders boot-camp, we were immersed in pre-reading on the state of the U.S. economy. Admittedly, I was depressed! Although, the US GDP is recovering well, many other economic indicators point to lagging global US competitiveness. Income inequality is increasing, our educational outcomes are declining relative to the rest of the world, high wage job growth is stagnating, entitlement spending is squeezing out investments in shared economic infrastructure, and federal political paralysis increasing. Harvard Business School professors successfully rang the alarm bell and had our attention. Thankfully, as the program continued, we found hope.
At United Way, we know that the solution to complex problems resides in the community. The hope for the future is us – local leaders who will engage in cross sector, multi-stakeholder collaboration. We studied case after case of success, and failures, at the local level. We left YALP with an appreciation for the work ahead of us to restore US Competitiveness and the role we each have in making an impact. More importantly, we developed stronger connections with one another to foster our communities growth for decades to come.