Biggs, Bryant to Participate at National Opportunity Summit in Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 9, 2015

On February 25-26, 2015 in Washington, DC, The National Opportunity Summit will unite a bipartisan, cross-sector group of business leaders, nonprofits, elected officials and young adults for an important conversation about the urgent crisis of youth unemployment and its impact on opportunity in America.

BOSTON, Mass. — Opportunity Nation is happy to announce that representatives from our diverse, cross-sector coalition that includes groups from across the country will be among those attending the National Opportunity Summit this year, including DeMiktric “Mike” Biggs of Capitol Strategies Consulting based in Jackson, Mississippi.

“It is important to me that those of us who’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve and participate in our electoral process reach back and make sure our future leaders and community activists have the same opportunites”. “I am proud to represent Mississippi within this wonderful organization and excited to work with our community and business leaders and elected officials to ensure we are expanding access to our future generations”, says Biggs.

Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant will also be in attendance joining Deleware Gov. Jack Markell and former Michigan Gov. John Engler and other business leaders for a round table discussion.

Opportunity Nation Coalition partners all have one thing in common: they are enhancing opportunities for youth and families by strengthening pathways to upward mobility and building strong communities.

Businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and community organizations are all represented in our 300+ Coalition member organizations. They support the notion that all Americans should have access to opportunity and that where you start off in life should not determine where you end up. Though each partner does not necessarily endorse every proposal in the Opportunity Nation policy framework, they are committed to an inclusive, consensus-oriented dialogue and the idea that all of us have a role to play in expanding access to the American Dream.

The leadership, experience and voices of the Coalition will enhance the Summit and promote its goals long after the event itself is over.

The National Opportunity Summit is hosted by Opportunity Nation and co-convened by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Business Roundtable (BRT), United Way Worldwide and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). The Summit is the first national opportunity event focused on the critically important issues of youth employment, skills training and meaningful cross-sector education and career pathways at both state and federal levels. Summit attendees include 1,000 business, nonprofit, education and government leaders and hundreds of young adults from across the country.

For the last three years, Opportunity Nation and its partners have been growing a movement to restore opportunity in America. This effort has reached a critical tipping point, particularly for our nation’s youth who face unacceptably high levels of unemployment and disconnection. The National Opportunity Summit is timed to maximize this momentum by promoting awareness, forging deeper partnerships and accelerating solutions.

WHEN YOUNG ADULTS DO WELL, COMMUNITIES DO WELL

Providing equal access to opportunity for all Americans is the defining issue of our time. The most direct and powerful way to accomplish this goal is to dramatically improve education and employment prospects for teens and young adults.

Each year, Opportunity Nation releases the annual Opportunity Index, a composite measure of 16 key economic, educational and civic factors that expand or restrict upward mobility for Americans, and provides and Opportunity Score for all 50 states and Washington DC and 2,900 counties. One of the indicators that correlates most closely with overall opportunity is the number of young Americans ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working. When young adults are connected to school and work, communities are more likely to provide greater opportunity to their residents.

Currently, there are 5.6 million youth who are disconnected from school and work and millions more who lack meaningful pathways to education and career. Youth unemployment remains stubbornly high – twice the national average.

At the same time, many U.S. employers say that the inability to find qualified workers is their biggest obstacle to growth. Our economy demands a workforce equipped with the degrees, certificates and skills required to maintain our global competitiveness and support thriving communities where we live.

America’s future is at risk if we are not able to build a workforce that can compete. If we can connect our youth to the jobs of today and tomorrow, our communities – and our country – will prosper.

About Opportunity Nation:

Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national coalition of more than 300 businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and community leaders working to expand economic opportunity. Opportunity Nation seeks to close the opportunity gap by amplifying the work of its coalition members, advocating policy and private sector actions and releasing the annual Opportunity Index.

CONTACT: Cara Willis, Director of Communications 978-502-0910 cwillis@opportunitynation.org

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