In December 2013, the Youth Development Council (YDC) voted in favor of a Community Investment Strategy in response to a legislative request to come up with a funding allocation plan for YDC funds. This was the approach adopted by the Council to use when determining the funding of Opportunity Youth (ages 16-24 not in school and not working and under-attached youth) and Priority Youth (ages 6-15 at risk of becoming disconnected from school and future work opportunities). This portion of the report outlined the national conversation on Opportunity Youth and took a look at what we knew about Oregon’s Opportunity Youth population. The most recent data available shows there are nearly 59,000 Opportunity Youth in Oregon.
The White House Council for Community Solutions: Community Solutions for Opportunity Youth
This June 2012 report, the result of outreach and listening sessions, found that youth ages 16-24 not in school and not working have energy and aspirations, and do not view themselves as “disconnected.” To the contrary, the report found these youth are eager to participate in their communities, and to want to take part in the development of their lives. Youth need the tools and opportunities to create successful futures, this report states. The Council chose to refer to this population as Opportunity Youth.
Who are Opportunity Youth in Oregon? A portion of the YDC’s Community Investment Strategy identified this population.
Tomorrow’s Workforce: Re-engaging Opportunity Youth
This YDC document examines Opportunity Youth rates in Oregon, particularly regarding the re-engagement of disconnected youth in training programs to get them on the path to living wage jobs.
The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions’ Opportunity Youth Network
The Opportunity Youth Network (OYN) was launched with key leaders from nearly 100 national organizations to capitalize on the momentum created by the White House Council on Community Solutions, which brought new visibility and focus to 16-24 year olds who are not in school and not working. This website hosts numerous articles and other resources relating to disconnected youth in its effort to align related efforts and catalyze efforts where there are gaps.
The Forum for Youth Investment (FYI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan action tank dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21 – ready for college, work and life. strategies, and partnerships to strength solutions for young people and those who care about them. The Forum manages the Opportunity Youth Network (OYN) in partnership with Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and Gap Inc. OYN brings together leading foundations, corporations, governments, nonprofits and formerly disconnected youth to collaborate toward their shared goal of reconnecting one million disconnected youth over five years. The Forum compiled the following report that examines the alignment of movements for some Opportunity Youth:
Aligning Movements: Insights and Information from the Opportunity Youth/Boys and Men of Color Alignment Strategy Group
Providing True Opportunity for Opportunity Youth
This May 2015 research brief from Heartland Alliance states that because these youth face the significant challenges including extreme poverty, homelessness, and justice system involvement, they often need even more intensive assistance to both enter and keep employment. In addition, these youth are at risk of being left behind by employment programs that are specifically designed to serve Opportunity Youth. This paper builds on the research literature with extensive interviews with employment program providers who have had success keeping these youth in the workplace.
My Brother’s Keeper 2016 Progress Report: Two Years of Expanding Opportunity and Creating Pathways to Success
A 2014 Presidential Memorandum established this task force, a coordinated Federal effort to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color. Since then, more than $600 million in private sector and philanthropic grants and in-kind resources and $1 billion in low-interest financing have been committed in alignment with the initiative; and new federal policy initiatives, grant programs, and guidance are being implemented to ensure that every child has a clear pathway to success from cradle to college and career. The Task Force, which makes available evidence-based policies and practices, and leverages existing data to inform interventions and improve accountability, is organized around key life milestones that have been shown to be predictive of positive outcomes later in life.
Young and Adrift: Measuring Youth Disconnection in America Today
This September 2016 Measure of America article, first appeared in The Huffington Post, updating the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, with a dozen companies pledging in July 2015 to hire 100,000 Opportunity Youth over three years. A little over one year later, the initiative had grown to include 50 U.S. companies, and met its hiring goal two years before the deadline. This report calls for better methods of calculating youth disconnection, giving Opportunity Youth a better chance at success.
Recommendations to Increase Opportunity and Decrease Poverty in America, a 2012 youth voice report by the National Council of Young Leaders and Opportunity Youth United, lists principles of action, recommendations for change, and core elements of pathways that are proven to work for Opportunity Youth.
A Bridge to Reconnection: A Plan for Reconnecting One Million Opportunity Youth Each Year Through Federal Funding Streams, is a 2012 Aspen Institute white paper (updated in 2016) estimating how the the federal government could reach Opportunity Youth, saving $98 billion.