“Leading the Next Generation” Summit motivates local community

SHAWNEE, Okla. — Local counselors, mentors and agency representatives gathered to connect with other professionals in the area to network, discuss working with youth and gain some inspiration to continue the important work they do in Shawnee and in neighboring cities.

WorkForce Investment Board and Citizen Potawatomi Nation hosted a youth worker summit with a keynote address from Senator Josh Brecheen and a panel of representatives from local youth service organizations and community coalitions.

“Professionals that work with young people have a rewarding, yet demanding job,” said BJ Trousdale, program coordinator, FireLodge Youth Program and who is also currently serving as Chair for the WorkForce Investment Board’s Youth Advisory Coalition. “Helping youth to face development and navigate the world we live in is such a critical issue. This event was designed with those who work with younger generations in mind.”

In addition to the presentation from Brecheen, the youth panel provided helpful insights into how to reach local youth. The program also addressed generational gaps in the workplace and community and provided some possible solutions about how to bridge those gaps to make communities more efficient and accessible to younger generations.

“We hope we encouraged community members to reach out to young and capable people in this area,” added Trousdale. “We all know it takes a village, and that old adage holds true today when the next generation is requesting our help and assistance to develop skills, find opportunities, and relies on our recommendations to carry out their work and educational goals.”

Those attending included members from the East Central and Oklahoma Central WorkForce Investment offices and their partner ResCare, the Department of Human Services, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, the Shawnee Youth Coalition, CPN’s FireLodge Youth Council, the Department of Rehabilitative Services, police departments from local and tribal agencies, various tribes in central Oklahoma and mental health agencies including Red Rock and CPN Behavioral Health.