UP Partnership aims to ensure Bexar County youth is ready for the future

There are a lot of organizations in and around San Antonio working to help the future generations in our community.

The UP Partnership is working to do exactly that but in a unique manner. The goal of the UP Partnership is to ensure all young people across Bexar County are ready for the future.

The group wants to deliver on this plan by coordinating data, aligning pathways and promoting policy change that can help unlock the full potential of our young people, our communities, and our region.

Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, the CEO of UP Partnership, joined Leading SA Sunday to talk about the program, the progress and the future.

“Across all of our partners, we have one shared mission and that’s to ensure all young people in Bexar County are ready for the future. We do not provide any direct services for what’s called the backbone organization, so we support and connect our partners. We work with over 30 local partners, from UTSA and TAMUSA and Alamo Colleges to smaller organizations like Powerhouse and Austin Center. And collectively, they reach about 400,000 young people, which is roughly 70% of our county’s young people,” Lugalia-Hollon said.

Lugalia-Hollon said the UP Partnership is about identifying the problems, recognizing solutions and then building solutions.

“We provide them data and training to strengthen their programs. More recently, we were able to work with the city to get a dedicated $10 million fund out of the ARPA dollars for youth success. Young people have had a really hard time during the pandemic. They’ve been isolated from one another. They’ve fallen back academically. And so, we’re really excited to see the city make that investment in community partners that give those young people the resources they need after school,” Lugalia-Hollon said.

There are also large-scale efforts on the way.

“Future Ready Bexar County will be publicly released on April 28 with over 50 of our partner institutions. And it’s really a response to the pandemic. So our board in April of 2020 launched an equitable recovery pledge to make sure that the inequities that we had and major outcomes like post-secondary enrollment before the pandemic did not get worse and that we could actually use this crisis as a turning point to create a more inclusive Bexar County for all of our young people. So that’s what drove it. And the plan has three big pillars what we consider must-haves,” Lugalia-Hollon said.

Those pillars are clearly defined, according to Lugalia-Hollon.

“That’s healing. All young people need access to the healing to healing supports, especially if they’re struggling emotionally and mentally, and they need access to high quality programs to post-secondary education and ultimately to careers that will give them a living wage. And they need voice. You know, it’s hard to keep up with all of the challenges that young people have been going through and the only way to do that is to listen to them,” Lugalia-Hollon said.

If you want to learn more about the initiative you can find the information here: https://uppartnership.org/.

You can watch the full Leading SA interview with Lugalia-Hollon in the video player above.