Cowen Institute awarded grant for work with at-risk population

July 31, 2014

Barri Bronston
Phone: 504-314-7444

The Aspen Institute, one of the nation’s largest education and policy think tanks, has awarded the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University and the Partnership for Youth Development three additional years of funding for their work connecting at-risk teens and young adults with education and employment opportunities.

The grant, worth up to $500,000, specifically targets efforts to reconnect “opportunity youth,” a term used to describe the 6.7 million Americans between 16 and 24 years of age who are neither enrolled in school nor in the workforce.

The Cowen Institute and Partnership for Youth Development, in collaboration with community-based organizations, private sector leaders, local government stakeholders, philanthropists and higher education partners have built an initiative called Employment and Mobility Pathways Linked for Opportunity Youth, or EMPLOY, which aims to increase the access of New Orleans opportunity youth to quality vocational training, academic and support services, and high-growth jobs.

The collaborative received a planning grant from the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund last year, which it used to bring together various stakeholders to design strategies for young people who face extraordinary barriers to success.

"The Cowen Institute is thrilled to support the work of the EMPLOY collaborative,” said John Ayers, executive director of the Cowen Institute. “The Institute is eager to continue identifying ways to leverage Tulane's strengths in this effort. As an anchor institution, Tulane is well positioned to connect with regional employers, higher education institutions, support service providers and public sector stakeholders, who can support opportunity youth along their developmental pathways.”

New Orleans is one of 19 cities to receive the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund grant. The fund, made up of contributions from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other donors, is managed by the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions, which serves as a platform for sharing best practices among community collaborations.


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000