Quardean Lewis-Allen wanted to tackle the nationwide problem of youth unemployment. Particularly in Brownsville, where he grew up, where there is the highest number of disconnected youths —16-24 year-olds that aren’t in school and aren’t working. In addition, in the design and technology professions, less than 1% of licensed architects and only 1% of tech founders are Black. How did he aim to solve this problem?
Quardean said that it starts with linking young people who don’t know that such positions are a viable pathway for them with the people that are in those industries and would want to create space for them. He created Made in Brownsville (MIB) — a transdisciplinary creative agency employing youth to be civic leaders, and design and technology agents of the next generation. This occurs through internships at his creative agency where youth are learning marketable skills to increase their access to design and technology professions.
MIB apprenticeships are in-office apprenticeships for six months where young people can sign up based on their interests and are trained in hard skills like software and Adobe for three months; and for the later three months, capstone projects which is usually a community benefit project where they’re thinking about a local challenge and devising a solution for that. At the end of the six months, they’ll exhibit their solutions to stakeholders, “graduate” into freelancers in Made in Brownsville and will be ready to be hired to do projects for clients all over. This way, they build their portfolios and entrepreneurial capacities to start their own businesses as well.
Quardean says that Made in Brownsville has reached success when they place young people in jobs and when young people know that there is a safety net for them. This is #goalgetters.
Quardean Lewis-Allen wanted to tackle the nationwide problem of youth unemployment. ...