Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure+
Investing in a 21st Century Workforce to Build and Sustain World Class Infrastructure for ALL People and Communities.
Equitable and Inclusive Communities | Sustainable and Resilient |Smart | Safe | Secure
Our “PEOPLE” are Our Greatest Resource
In the critical national recovery work ahead – “Let us resource our much-needed “people-readiness” and workforce development investments; and take ACTION like we really mean it!”
Make this a national recovery that ensures ALL rebound and rebuild -- better, and stronger for the 21st century and beyond. HOW? By intentionally using this massive reinvestment opportunity to unlock the full potential of all Americans. Provide “GOOD” jobs, business opportunities, essential facilities, and services to all.
In late 2018, we launched Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure (“Iyai+”), a national nonprofit to help accomplish three main goals:
Inspire, excite, and actively engage youth in our nation’s critical infrastructure sectors – by reframing the image to one of “community-building” – centered around impacts to people, communities, and society. Anchored in values and outcomes – the “+” – equity and and inclusion, resilience, sustainability, smart, safe, and secure.
Increase the participation of historically under-represented groups – people of color and women – across our nation’s critical infrastructure sectors. Starting with the “lifeline sectors” – transport, water, energy, telecommunications. All are facing significant workforce development challenges. And all experience significant, longstanding diversity and inclusion challenges.
While progress has occurred in some areas – much more work remains to be done.
And encourage YOUTH to “build their civic muscle” through active community participation – sharing their considerable knowledge, learned experiences, and fresh perspectives.LEARN MORE >>
Iyai+’s unique cross-sectoral approach is by design.
Today’s profoundly changing, and increasingly interdependent world requires rethinking the “career-readiness” education, skills, experiences, and exposures necessary for competitiveness and sustainability in the 21st century.
Working collaboratively, we expose YOUTH to a broad range of infrastructure careers and help them to see the impact(s) on people, community, and society – “community-building”. There are 16 critical national infrastructure sectors. Our programming starts with the “lifeline” sectors – transportation, water, energy, communications… critical manufacturing…
We have a definite perspective that is “equity-centered” and “results-focused”. And, our WORK is anchored by core values – equity and inclusion; resilience and sustainability; smart, safe and secure infrastructure outcomes and benefits for all of our nation’s people and communities.
And, a deep commitment to the value and importance of meaningful civic engagement, including YOUTH VOICE and PARTICIPATION in community decision-making – which we lift up as lifetime work and “success” skills.LEARN MORE >>
Our Iyai+ Community at Work
Our programming, youth support and engagement would simply not be possible without our multi-sectoral network of diverse, deeply committed individual and institutional Supporters. Including Industry Sector Coordinators, speakers and presenters from the C-Suite (policy-level, executive and senior leadership), Mid-Level and Emerging Leaders, to highly experienced, subject matter experts on the Shop Floor (professionals at every level) – representing the public and private sectors, organized labor, and non-profit, advocacy/community-based organizations.
In addition to "paid" internships, in 2020, our major Sponsors/Partners -- APTAU, CTA, Genfare, HDR, and The Transportation Learning Center provided extraordinary support, including “gifting” computer hardware, software; and “pro bono” instructional design and programming support during COVID to make it possible for the majority of our youth – most from low-income households -- to participate.LEARN More >>
"Turn today’s youth into tomorrow’s American infrastructure
leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and skilled workforce. "
Our YOUTH Sharing Their Stories
At Iyai+, we are deeply committed to helping our YOUTH be strong, confident, self-sufficient, engaged people and caring members of society.
Our “My Beloved Community” transformative justice program element developed in collaboration with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Harvard University Law School encourages youth to apply their class and learned experiences to Tell Their Stories (“docu-shorts”).
Share their insights regarding the impact of critical infrastructure on their personal lives, community, and society – as one way to help them understand this important connection. And encourage them to personally care about the importance of community participation – and public service.See Videos
The Learning Center
Coming Your Way in 2021 (1st Quarter) …
For our 2020 Summer Youth programming in Chicago, we significantly accelerated our remote learning plans to introduce a 100% remote learning (home-based) version of our core Infrastructure Careers Awareness/” My Beloved Community” transformative justice program to High Schoolers.
In addition to videoconferencing, The Transportation Learning Center (www.transportcenter.org) led by Jack Clark and Xinge Wang – supported by Patricia Greenfield and Julie Deibel-Pundt (both experts in workforce development programs and instructional design), tremendously assisted our work to make an important step further; and, introduce MOODLE, a web-based Learning Management System platform designed to provide an expanded personalized learning environment for our participants that is accessible from anywhere.
Our remote pilot programming initiative was successful. And, in 1st quarter 2021, with the active support of our Iyai+ YOUTH participants and expanded Iyai+ Community support, we will officially launch The Iyai+ Learning Center.
Stay Tuned – It Promises to be a BLAST!
BE The Change You Want To See!
Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking to students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967, where he delivered his speech
“What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?”
A Tribute to Dr. Juanita Jones Abernathy
At Iyai+, we were honored and tremendously blessed to have the late Dr. Juanita Jones Abernathy as a Founding Iyai+ Board Member.
“Affectionately known as our Mrs. A” -- beyond a force of nature – a life of courage, perseverance, and giving back. An educator, accomplished businesswoman, and long-time public transportation Board Member at MARTA, she understood the importance of going beyond the traditional STEM/STEAM classroom experience to reframe the narrative around infrastructure careers to one of “community-building” -- its impact on people, communities, and outcomes (particularly for historically under-represented youth). And, deepening the connection to important societal “values” and “outcomes” that matter. The true determinants of success -- environmental, economic, and social equity; and the development of lifetime “readiness” and success skills, i.e., continuous, meaningful civic participation; lifetime learning and sharing; and generational responsibility for community-building.
READ ABOUT how her inspiration and work continues as a part of the “My Beloved Community Transformative Justice Initiative”.READ More