Championing Career Readiness: Najmah Ahmad’s Dedication to Alexandria’s Youth

Championing Career Readiness: Najmah Ahmad’s Dedication to Alexandria’s Youth

Passion for youth is something that Najmah Ahmad has in abundance. In her role with ACT, Najmah leads the Youth Employment and CTE Working Group. Her work has been integral — beginning with her recognition that there’s a wide gap between the future we promise to young people and the way we prepare them for that future.

Najmah’s own experience with youth has fueled her passion. “I tell people all the time that the goal isn’t to go to college and stop. Regardless of what your pathway is, you need career readiness preparation.” Her own career followed a path toward founding a consultancy focused on career readiness initiatives… which is when she connected with ACT.

A discussion began about youth employment in the city — particularly around the gaps that persist for students of color, immigrant students, those with disabilities, and others that are pushed to the margins. ACT shared her beliefs. “They brought me on board to help them provide more structure to the working group,” says Najmah.

After 17 years in education, Najmah has some firm views about how students can and should be prepared for life. She’s adamant that an open system of communication be set in place, along with a wide menu of options that are offered to students. “How are we making sure that we’re having diverse voices at the table in a large cross section of sectors?” she asks. “And so I began recruiting people from youth serving organizations, advocacy organizations, nonprofits, and service providers who were doing wraparound supports for young people.”

Najmah is a perfect fit for the culture of connectivity that’s so integral to ACT. From the beginning, she recognized that employers, government agencies, community partners, families, schools, and youth could collaborate to prepare students for future.

Today, Najmah leads the Youth Employment and CTE group, working to identify shared goals and create a robust ecosystem for young people across the city she loves. “I’m very excited for Alexandria to be positioning itself at the forefront of what the future of work can look like,” she says. “There’s something truly unique and vibrant about Alexandria. It’s a rich tapestry.”

To learn more about the Youth Employment and CTE work, click here.


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