Highlights the strategies that are currently working to give “opportunity youth” with challenging life circumstances the right combination of training, support and experiences to make successful transitions to meaningful careers.

“On behalf of civic enterprises, Peter D. Hart Research Associates undertook a comprehensive survey of opportunity youth to learn about common elements in their personal histories and their lives today, and to explore opportunities to reconnect them to work and school. The survey was conducted among a nationally representative cross section of 613 people from age 16 to 24. In accordance with the conventional definition of opportunity youth, respondents were neither enrolled in school nor working, and none of the respondents had completed a college degree. To reach this highly mobile group, Hart Research conducted in-person interviews at 23 diverse locations in four regions across the United States. Respondents completed the survey from August 12 to 29, 2011. In addition, Hart Research Associates moderated two focus groups of opportunity youth. The first was conducted …in Washington, DC among Latino and African American graduates of YouthBuild. The second was conducted among inmates at New Beginnings Youth Development Center in Laurel, MD” (p.45). (Abstractor: Author).

Major Findings & Recommendations

The following are recommendations as noted by the author. Additional recommendations can be found on pages 34-43. "Create a unified intake system, so that a young person who walks into any federally funded program can receive a global assessment and automatically be accepted into all programs that they are eligible for" (p.39). "Provide all disadvantaged youth with an interagency case manager to help them navigate the services they need. By aligning the federal definitions of case managers and allowing communities to blend existing federal funding to create a unified interagency case management process, services would be more efficient and more effective" (p.39). "Add a 15-25 percent waiver to all eligibility requirements so as to allow flexibility in response to need at the local level and to avoid rigid divisions between groups of people" (p.39) "Implement a policy that all opportunity youth are instantly eligible for all federal programs which provide the full range of services they need to transition to responsible adulthood (and that all federal funds can be used to provide the range of services the opportunity youth need)" (p.39). "The DYOTC provides a tax credit to employers who hire an opportunity youth, as defined by the law. This approach needs to become permanent and, rather than just reward employers for hiring opportunity youth, it should include the provision of training and internship opportunities for opportunity youth provided by an employer in partnership with a community-based program. We propose to amend the DYOTC to require employers to demonstrate they are providing career pathway training and support for high school completion or postsecondary degree or credential attainment to be eligible for the credit" (p.41). Bring opportunity youth to the table as policies are made that affect their lives. Create a federal child and youth cabinet to set goals and targets and to oversee work across agency lines.Support similar efforts at the state and local levels" (p.42).(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)