By Kim Cooper
Real change requires a roadmap. Creating and implementing an effective and sustainable roadmap requires the engagement of diverse young leaders driven to make a difference. However, change can only happen if youth are equipped with the appropriate tools and opportunities that empower them.
Time and time again, young people are raising their hands, signing up, and showing up, for our programs where they can share their voice, collaborate, gain experience, and learn. Young people want to be a part of solving real-world problems – from a local to global scale.
As adults in industry, education, and government, it’s our responsibility to ensure young leaders have the chance to share their voice to make a difference. I started Youth Culture Inc. during the height of the pandemic to bridge the gaps between youth and industry, education, and opportunity through a lens of diversity and inclusion. I wanted to be a part of the movement to create new and innovative opportunities for youth—especially for young people who are often left behind.
A recurring and consistent theme in our programs is Roadmap to 2030: creating content and dialogue that inspires reflection of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In September 2015, Canada and 192 other UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The “2030 Agenda envisions a secure world free of poverty and hunger, with full and productive employment, access to quality education and universal health coverage, the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and an end to environmental degradation.” Undoubtedly, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
AI for Good Foundation recognized a need and developed a unique curriculum accessible at no charge. The AI+SDG Launchpad allows schools, colleges, universities, or research institutes to easily create and manage a curriculum that bridges the gap between Data Enabled Sciences and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030. This curriculum highlights industry, innovation, global issues, the evolving economy, equity, empathy, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. Youth Culture Inc. will deliver a pilot AI+SDG Launchpad program tailored to Canadian youth to engage them in critical dialogue, reflection, and take-action strategies for a better planet.
Youth Culture is committed to creating meaningful connections between youth and industry alongside our partners, clients, and collaborators. We do this through unique programs like our Industry Learning Pods, Youth Shadow Boards, and FAST-TRACK Internship programs, to name a few. These programs aim to elevate voices, establish connections, and bring a diverse perspective to industry. Ultimately, inspiring and empowering youth for real change.
Kim Cooper is a member of AI for Good’s Council for Good and she’s the President and CEO of Youth Culture Inc., a professional services and youth empowerment company that bridges the gaps between youth and industry, education, and opportunity—from a lens of diversity and inclusion. She is the author of the book Girls and Science: Voices for Change and a keynote speaker on Generation Z, Generation Alpha, women in business, inclusive leadership, and diversity and inclusion in industry.