In partnership with the Cara Collective and the Chicago Resiliency Network, Afton Partners serves as the project manager for Chicago’s Generation Work Initiative, a national project funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to connect young people of color with meaningful employment. Through a structured, 6 month learning process, a cohort of five companies is being convened to identify and pilot strategies related to racial equity, resiliency, and positive youth development. Each pilot project involves a series of smaller “tests” designed to provide immediate feedback on the efficacy and impact of the proposed strategy changes. Examples of these larger pilot projects include:
- Adoption of team panel interviews to reduce time-to-hire and improve candidate experience in the hiring process
- Regular use of the ‘regulation curve’ to increase psychological safety among existing staff
- Facilitation of unconscious bias training for staff to improve internal and external interactions
- Standardization of new-hire onboarding practices to improve employee experience and increase retention
- Training in coaching and trauma-informed care for supervisors and managers to build a stronger culture
The cohort meets on a monthly basis to share their learnings, offer feedback and advice grounded in lived experience, and engage in meaningful networking. Afton leads this project by convening planning meetings across all stakeholders, developing meeting materials, facilitating cohort learning sessions, synthesizing notes and key takeaways, managing logistics, and providing coaching and technical assistance to individual companies. The cohort will continue to meet through December 2022.