Third Successful ‘Opportunity Now’ Summer Program Concludes
Thomas Mulgrew (615) 862-6461
Mayor David Briley announced today that the third successful Opportunity NOW (ON) summer program has officially concluded. Nearly 2,000 youth from across the city participated this year, bringing the three-year total to almost 6,000.
ON is the Mayor’s Office youth employment initiative, working to provide young people ages 14-24 in Davidson County access to employment. The ON summer program provides youth with paid work and internships for seven weeks.
“Providing the young people of our city with the opportunity to gain employment experience, learn valuable skills and understand how to take care of their finances is paramount to ensuring they will prosper after leaving school,” said Mayor Briley. “Opportunity NOW does all that and more. I’m thankful that so many private employers and nonprofits have stepped up to support the program and give our young people the tools they need to be successful in life.”
This year, youth participants worked with law firms and small businesses, local nonprofits like Crossroads Pets and FiftyForward, educational institutions such as Vanderbilt University and TSU, as well as Metro, among others. Youth also received soft skill employment training and financial literacy education. More than 85% of participants opened or maintained a bank account.
“It’s been a thrill to watch Opportunity NOW grow over the last three years into the program it is today,” said ON director Ellen Zinkiewicz. “ON had positively impacted thousands of youth in Nashville, and I look forward to its upward trajectory continuing for years to come.”
In addition to its summer program, ON operates an employment portal year-round that directly connects youth aged 16-24 to employers with entry-level positions. Over 300 employers are involved and more than 20,000 youth have used the portal since its creation.ON is funded through a $2.9 million annual Metro appropriation as well as more than $2 million in private funding from numerous supporters.