Big Ideas Bright Cities Challenge: Story behind the scenes

GBC-education's Hazar Yildirim pictured with his family

Our $100,000 Competition for “Skills-Friendly” Cities

How can businesses in the U.S. improve youth skills so that the next generation of workers can be trained for jobs with good salaries and opportunities for advancement?

Our colleague Hazar Yildirim has been helping us with an innovative competition. For the second year in a row, the Global Business Coalition for Education is running the Big Ideas, Bright Cities Challenge, which features a $100,000 prize.

1. Tell us your 20-second elevator speech about this competition—and you can even mention the prize.

We invite nonprofit groups and cities to work together to develop bold, innovative ideas that equip young people with skills to participate in the workforce. And by the way, we offer a $100,000 prize for the winner as well as micro-grants for finalists, and the opportunity to join our network of Skills Friendly Cities. (Click here for information.)

2. Why do you think this skills project is crucial?

We’re addressing an urgent problem: Across the U.S., four million young people are not in school and not employed. Millions more are underemployed. At the same time, businesses across all industries struggle to develop a skilled workforce. Our partners, Dell Technologies and Deloitte, are showing how businesses can make a difference.

3. Share something surprising you saw in the first year of this work.

We built an incubator program with monthly virtual meetings to share information from experts and peers. After a few sessions, we saw groups in various parts of the country forming connections between these meetings. That led to fruitful collaborations between youth-serving organizations and cities across the country.

4. How does this resonate with your personal story?

In high school student, I volunteered for a nonprofit lobbying local governments and businesses to offer educational scholarships to disadvantaged children. Then I studied abroad with the AFS Intercultural Programs, an exchange for students. That fired up my passion for achieving equity in education worldwide. Now that I have children, I’m even more invested in inclusive, quality and fair education for everyone.

5. This skills-friendly challenge is exciting. Any dreams of expanding it globally?

As they say: Stay tuned…

Hazar Yildirim is a senior manager at the Global Business Coalition for Education. Thanks to our partners Deloitte and Dell Technologies, this Skills-Friendly Cities initiative is empowering organizations and cities across the U.S. with grants, learning opportunities and in-kind business support.

Spread the word about this competition! The Global Business Coalition for Education is a movement of businesses committed to ending the global education crisis. We can help your business do well by doing right.

Learn more about the challenge

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