Black Minnesotan students graduate from high school 13% less often than white Minnesotan students. ECMC Group brought our team in to create an experience that engages the full workforce ecosystem to close the racial equity gap persistent in the Twin Cities.
Guiding our thinking, direction, and solutions was a group of 25 Black young adults aged 16-25. Their perspectives and input were a critical differentiator and their involvement in co-designing solutions was inspiring, enlightening, and created impact.
Our initial hypothesis was that a tool would connect the ecosystem of stakeholders and make pathways to careers easier for Black students. Our youth advisory group proved this wrong.
The young adults indicated the needed that … and more. They needed a sense of belonging, clear connections in the ecosystem and opportunities to build valuable experiences that provided pathways to life-changing jobs. We considered this a groundbreaking and project-shifting discovery that would change our concepts – for the better.
The six concepts we created and tested
With the guidance of the youth advisory group, we created and tested six concepts from identified opportunity areas. These concepts ranged from 1-on-1 career pathway support to an employer playbook. During concept testing, the youth advisory group gave feedback on each concept to help our team recommend which concepts should be prioritized for ECMC Group to develop and implement. Here are some resounding themes we heard from the young adults:
We created a complete ecosystem experience for Black young adults aged 16-25. The idea is that a young adult could follow this experience from high school to their first job and receive connection, support, and a place to belong. This holistic pathway that focuses on creating connections and putting young adults in control stands out among thousands of other solutions in the marketplace. From the concept testing, we created an implementation roadmap for ECMC Group, and the development of the first concept is slated to start later this fall. If you’re interested in learning more about the project the executive summary we created and ECMC Group’s campaign, Question the Quo, are great resources to see the impact ECMC Group in making in the future of education.
Co-Lab Concept Journeymap