E.M.P.O.W.E.R. Youth Toolkit

A Youth Civic Engagement And Workforce Development Toolkit For Local Governments

How to Empower Youth to Transform Your Community

With support of the California Endowment, ILG created the E.M.P.O.W.E.R. Toolkit to provide local governments the resources and support to more effectively engage youth. Our E.M.P.O.W.E.R approach to youth engagement and civic education means: 

  • Educate youth and community members about government functions
  • Motivate young people to engage by listening to their perspectives 
  • Promote youth voice in government decision making
  • Optimize youth engagement in workforce development efforts
  • Work to provide professional development and career building opportunities for youth
  • Engage with youth in meaningful ways to achieve equity
  • Respect young people as they pursue their own civic and career journeys

ILG thanks the many local government leaders, youth development professionals and young people who contributed to this toolkit. 

About the toolkit

California’s Youth Are the Future Leaders and Workforce for Special Districts, Counties, Cities & Towns

  • 4.9|million Californians are 18-25 years old
  • 24%|of employees in the public sector are eligible to retire in the next decade
  • 10%|of California’s public sector jobs are in local government
  • 1 in 3|Californians are young people


What are communities doing? Connecting, Investing + Building Their Future Leaders & Talent

Case Story

Inspiring the Next Generation of Leaders the Riverside County Way

The offices of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors have a youthful energy thanks to an innovative model that provides at-risk youth an opportunity to serve in the public sector. The County is working with interns to provide essential constituent services and play a key role in leading youth initiatives for the county as a whole.

Case Story

City of Rancho Cordova Engages Youth with Community Programs

The City of Rancho Cordova offers youth workforce and civic engagement programs in partnership with community-based organizations. 

Case Story

San Mateo County’s Jobs for Youth Program

Jobs for Youth is a workforce program for young people within the Human Resources Department of the County of San Mateo.  Youth ages 14-21 regardless of socioeconomic status can receive support.  Through workshops at high schools and libraries and in direct student scholarships, youth received support to attain gainful employment. Learn more at https://jobsforyouth.org/

“You are beautiful human beings growing into who you are supposed to be in this world.” – Mike Callagy, San Mateo County Manager

Case Story

City of El Cajon Offers Community Service Experience

The City of El Cajon offers many opportunities for young people to gain valuable work and community service experience.

“For those worried about who will lead our cities in future years, you have no reason to fear. There are amazing students eager to take on the challenges we have yet to tackle.” – Graham Mitchell, El Cajon City Manager