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Durham Strategic Plan Dashboard

Shared Economic

Create a Safer Community Together

Connected, Engaged, and Inclusive Communities

Innovative and High Performing Organization

Thriving and Vibrant Environment

Status Indicator: In Progress | On Hold | Complete/Ongoing

Initiative: 1.23 Expand the Youth Works Program to better align youth talent pipeline to business needs

Shared Economic Prosperity


This initiative strives to expand the existing infrastructure, staffing, and programming of the Durham YouthWorks program. The program works in partnership with local employers to develop a talent pipeline of emerging employees for interested youth ages 14-24. The program offers career exploration for 14-15 year olds, career pathways discovery for 16-18 year olds, and a ready-for-work program for 18-24 year olds with local employers in Durham’s top employment sectors.

Key Measures & Data Analysis

The Youth Works Program has registered 613 participants, out of which 461 (75%) have completed 50% of the program and 415 (68%) have completed 100% of the program. The recent focus has been on conducting research and establishing best practices for program expansion. 

Youth Works Participants

Why is it important?

Offering youth opportunities for paid work experiences and career exploration in high-demand industries is crucial for community development. It gives young individuals practical skills, preparing them for the workforce and helps them make informed career choices. By addressing youth unemployment, communities foster economic engagement and contribute to the growth of a skilled workforce. Engaging young people in meaningful work experiences can also fosters civic responsibility, break cycles of poverty, and address workforce gaps in industries facing talent shortages. Moreover, the positive mentoring relationships formed during these experiences have lasting impacts on personal and professional development.

What have we been doing?

Durham YouthWorks has been conducting research into comparative programs across North Carolina and the country.  Using feedback from the Summer 2021, Summer 2022, and Summer 2023 programs, staff identified key program operation areas requiring structural and system realignment to increase the effectiveness of the program delivery.

What's next?

Durham YouthWorks is conducting a series of collaborator meetings with both internal and external partners to ensure the program incorporates established best practices when designing programming focused on meeting expansion goals in Summer 2024 and beyond.

Budget and Management Services Department
Office of Performance and Innovation
Strategy and Performance Division