- More people are moving to our city. More young adults are seeking the chance to invest in their communities and cultivate their own professional growth. But for many of Nashville’s youth, first jobs are not happening during the teen and young adult years. For many, crucial job-getting and job-keeping skills either happen much later, when the stakes are higher, or never really develop at all. This is where Opportunity NOW comes in.
- Opportunity NOW is Nashville’s youth employment initiative. The goal is to empower the youth of Nashville, while providing real chances to learn real skills that will stimulate the next generation of growth in our economy – benefitting our youth, our businesses and our city.
- The Nashville Career Advancement Center, the city’s agency for workforce development, is challenging Nashville’s business leaders to join us as we guide youth to prepare for career paths through empowerment, education, and employment opportunities. If you are currently a nonprofit, public or private sector employer in the Nashville community, we are talking to you.
- This initiative will create paid job and internship opportunities for thousands of Nashville’s youth ages 14-24. This initiative will also support Nashville’s next generation as they develop valuable life skills and confidence, while ultimately aspiring for a path to a brighter future. All opportunities can be found on Opportunity NOW’s online portal at on.nashville.gov.
Opportunity NOW consists of three programs: Direct Hire, Experience Work, and High School Internship.
- Direct Hire is a year round opportunity for young people ages 15-24 to apply for open positions around Nashville via the online portal. Throughout the year, businesses and organizations are able to post their entry-level positions at no cost. These positions can be full-time or part-time as well as seasonal.
- Experience Work is a 6-week summer program for youth ages 14-16 looking to give back to the community by working on a development, arts, or industry-focused project in a team-learning environment. The youth work for 20 hours a week and are paid $8 an hour.
- An extension of the Experience Work program is called NAZA Summer Zone. This is where youth participate in career pathway exploration, college prep, and activity based learning in an academic environment. Transportation, breakfast, and lunch are provided.
High School Internship program
- The High School Internship program is a 6-week summer program that places 16-18 year olds in local businesses and community organizations. These youth participate in individual internship programs by completing age-appropriate tasks that align with their interests.
- The interns are paid $9 an hour through Opportunity NOW, who acts as “employer of record” and assumes all payroll, FICA and workers’ compensation responsibilities. Opportunity NOW also funds an “employment coach” who is the employer’s liaison, providing any necessary mediation between employer and intern. Additionally, the employment coach supplies support and coaching to the young person to ensure success.
- Interns will have one week of pre-program orientation and work-readiness as well as 5 weeks on site. The interns will work 24 hours on site and will have 4 additional hours a week to come together with their cohort group and employment coach for reflection, skill-building and financial literacy.
How You Can Get Involved
Employers can engage with Opportunity NOW in any of the following ways:
- Hire: Partner with the initiative to hire young people directly.
- Sponsor: Provide work sites for young people participating in the structured program.
- Contribute: Donate towards the per participant cost of serving a young person in the program.
How We Fit In
Youth CAN houses Opportunity NOW’s Southeast Zone Coordinator, Samantha McDonough. She specifically focuses on employer relations and youth outreach for the High School Internship program in Southeast Nashville. If you are an employer or youth who is interested in learning more about the program, please contact her by email or phone. For more information on the Opportunity Now program, visit on.nashville.gov or visit app-opportunitynow.workbay.net/login to sign up for through the Opportunity NOW portal.