Urban Futures Lab builds Fellows’ skills, networks, and self-esteem. The Lab responds to the scarcity of meaningful training, mentorship, and employment for young adults in communities where Public Matters works. The Lab prepares Fellows to pursue professions with higher-earning salaries that require varied skill sets.
The Lab is a radical reimagining of job training for young adults: the fellowship prioritizes working outside the silo of a particular discipline or profession. It reconceives of the fellowship model – long used to craft opportunities exclusively for the “cream-of-the-crop” – to appreciate that the “cream” is thicker than previously thought. The model confronts the systemic problems of poor or incomplete education, poverty, and associated health and social stress by emphasizing continued learning, collaborative group work, case studies, professional networking and mentoring. It goes well beyond just performance of daily work tasks. All too often, job training and workforce development programs prepare individuals for employment in sectors with current hiring needs, rather than sectors with future growth. These programs do not necessarily prepare individuals with the skills to navigate an ever-evolving job market, let alone the skills to advance on a professional ladder that leads towards higher earnings potential; to find jobs of increasing leadership; to seek out professional satisfaction; or to pursue positions that are fulfilling creatively and have civic relevance.