JobsFirstNYC was founded to improve the plight of New York’s young adults who are out of school and unemployed by unifying the efforts of industry partners that had previously worked in silos. The organization’s work became even more critical in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis—but even as the economy improved and unemployment declined, a generation of young workers still found themselves in low-skill jobs with stagnant wages. JobsFirst asked Friday to help reframe its evolving organizational strategy, with the ultimate goal of updating its brand and retooling its website.
After facilitating several working sessions and interviewing many of JobsFirst’s partners, our research revealed that outsiders immediately identified JobsFirst’s “secret sauce” as the ability to test new ideas and instigate change, incubating bold and unconventional initiatives. This insight prompted deep conversations about the organization’s messaging and positioning, and helped JobsFirst refine its internal operations to lean into that role. As a next step, Friday helped the organization measure what matters at every level, by identifying key measures to track their impact on short-term issues and long-term problems. We also helped the organization ensure that its events, reports, website, and social-media channels were doing a more effective job of disseminating knowledge and connecting key players. Now, with strategy, brand, communications, and operations complementing one another, JobsFirst is helping its partners identify challenges, test new solutions, and advance what works for New York City’s most vulnerable young adults.