Welcome to The Pinkerton Papers

Job training and job readiness programs have long been at the heart of Pinkerton’s commitment to the young people of New York. After all, there’s no surer way to overcome a mountain of disadvantages than by getting—and keeping—a good job. Making that happen, of course, isn’t easy. Progress has been haphazard at best, and there remains a great deal of confusion about what works and what doesn’t.

In the hope of cutting through the fog, Pinkerton asked Steven Dawson, the founder and former head of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute and one of the clearest thinkers in the workforce field, to join us for a year as a Visiting Fellow. Steven met with our grantees and wrote a series of Pinkerton Papers on job recruitment, quality and retention issues that impact youth and adult jobseekers alike. Steven’s 2018 papers continue to generate discussion.

To promote further debate and dialogue, we asked our 2019-20 Visiting Fellow Lucy Friedman to look at how to transform New York’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) into a robust job-readiness experience. We got more than we bargained for. As you will see in the “Bridging the Gap” Pinkerton Paper, Lucy makes a compelling case for providing a tiered work-based learning experience–including a paid internship–for every New York City public high school student. Let the discussion begin.

The response to our early job papers was so enthusiastic that we decided to expand the Pinkerton Papers collection to include other thought-provoking pieces authored or coauthored by other Pinkerton staff members.

The first was a report on the New York City STEM Education Network by Program Officer Jennifer Negron and Saskia Traill, the Senior VP of Policy at ExpandEd. We think you’ll enjoy their “lessons for grantmakers” in the story of the STEM Network.

The second: a piece on “Credible Messenger Mentoring” by Senior Program Officer April Glad (formerly known as Julie Peterson) and Ruben Austria, Executive Director of Community Connections for Youth, an alternative to incarceration program in the Bronx. They argue convincingly that employing mentors who have themselves experienced the justice system is good not only for the young people they work with but for the mentors and their communities as well.

Jenny Negron has recently contributed another paper designed for grantmakers. She reports on how foundation program officers can remain close to grantees–and even build new trust–during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Pinkerton Papers are not meant to be tablets from on high. We don’t expect that readers will agree with every recommendation.  (In fact, some provoke lively discussions in our own offices.) But we sincerely hope they spark further thought, reactions, questions, disagreements, and competing strategies.

To that end, we’ll publish any and all thoughtful and good-spirited comments on our web site: www.thepinkertonfoundation.org

Rick Smith

President & CEO