Empowering Future Leaders With Pathways to Better Opportunities

As part of our continued efforts to support America’s workforce through career and skills development programs, earlier this year Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh visited STRIVE, a national workforce development organization headquartered in New York City.

The STRIVE Future Leaders program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, is an innovative program designed for justice-impacted youth ages 18-24 that currently operates in Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and San Diego. We recently spoke to Brianna, a graduate of STRIVE Future Leaders at Café Reconcile in New Orleans, on her experience.

Brianna, a graduate of the STRIVE Future Leaders program, faces the camera smiling and wearing a Cafe Reconcile baseball cap and black t-shirt


Tell us about yourself and your experience with STRIVE Future Leaders @ Café Reconcile.

My name is Brianna. I chose to enroll in Reconcile’s workforce development program, Strive Future Leaders, because of the educational resources and career opportunities it offers that could help me on my path to reaching my professional and personal goals.

After my first visit, I knew the program would be the right fit for me. I was able to gain real exposure and learn about the hospitality industry, which I am interested in, and really start to find what my true talents and gifts are that will help me as I build my career. Through the workshops, I have learned a lot of communication and life skills that are helping me grow and pursue better opportunities.

What supports and skills did you gain?

Since joining the program, I earned two industry credentials, successfully completed all benchmarks required with my culinary and hospitality training, and gained leadership skills that I am now using in the field. This program truly helped me, not only with establishing my career goals, but also with providing the resources that I need to get there.
What opportunities did you find after graduation?

After graduation I found employment at the Ace Hotel of New Orleans where I use the skills that I learned from STRIVE. I have also enrolled in a program called Heroes Academy, where I will earn my high-school diploma.

Any advice for others who may benefit from SFL or similar workforce development programs?

Anyone who has the opportunity to enroll in a program like STRIVE Future Leaders @ Café Reconcile should go for it! The program has been so supportive in making sure that I knew I could not only set goals for myself, but reach the goals I set.