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Economic Development

Quality afterschool provides communities with instrumental foundational supports of strong economic development growth. Afterschool provides parents with peace of mind and allows employers to have employees that are not chronically absent and focused on their jobs. Afterschool provides communities with public safety, workforce development, and college/career readiness. This is why cities across the nation are investing in afterschool. Municipal officials know that the strength and vitality of a city depends in part on the success of its young people who represent the city’s future workforce. The reports below, commissioned by the National League of Cities, shares compelling reasons why afterschool should be part of every city’s economic development strategy.

A City Strategy for Public Safety 

While intervention and law enforcement strategies are necessary to keep cities safe, mayors, city councilmembers, and other local elected officials can use afterschool and summer programs as a cost-effective prevention and youth development strategy, providing positive supervised learning opportunities for youth of all ages. Research shows that afterschool programs can keep children safe, reduce behaviors that might jeopardize public safety, and keep young people on track for a successful adulthood.


A City Strategy for Workforce Development

Cities rely on a prepared, skilled, and homegrown workforce to attract business and develop a vibrant and sustainable local economy. While the precise size and nature of the “skills gap” is subject to debate, mayors, city councilmembers, and other municipal officials increasingly understand the importance of preparing young people for the changing global workforce. They recognize that employers report challenges finding workers with the skills they need. One way city leaders can address this challenge is by supporting high-quality afterschool and summer programs that expose young people to career options while also building the social and emotional skills to help them succeed in work and life. It is a win-win for cities, businesses, families, youth, and our nation – a strategy for addressing future workforce needs and supporting the current workforce by giving working parents the opportunity to focus at work and be productive employees, with the knowledge that their children are in a safe and supportive environment.


A City Strategy to Support College and Career Readiness

While the majority of mayors across the U.S. do not control their school systems, mayors, city councilmembers, and other city leaders can play a large role in ensuring that all youth, especially low-income or disadvantaged youth, have access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs as a key strategy to promote their success. Starting early, success includes increased attendance and engagement in school, higher achievement levels, and graduating with the skills, knowledge, and exposure to pursue postsecondary options or careers. Missing these benchmarks of success exacts a significant toll on cities. For every student who fails to graduate from high school, communities can expect to lose tax revenue , experience lower economic activity, and incur greater economic and social costs.

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