"This report is intended to serve as a call to action for communities to bring together systems and stakeholders to improve outcomes for ""Opportunity Youth"" (youth aged 16-24 and neither in school nor the labor market) and to provide a high-level framework for a collective impact approach that will enable them to do so."
"Each year, over one million American youth become disconnected from the systems that are designed to educate and prepare them for their future. Known as Opportunity Youth, this population totals approximately 6.7 million in the United States and is comprised of youth who are between the ages of 16 and 24 and are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market. They are called Opportunity Youth as a reflection of the optimism they have for finding a pathway to economic stability, and as a reminder that investing in their futures represents an immense opportunity for employers and the nation. By improving outcomes for this population, businesses and communities have the potential to increase savings for society, improve the quality of talent available to employers, and interrupt a multigenerational cycle of poverty for youth and their families" (p. 3). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

"Lessons from the field highlight four key steps that help lay the foundation for a successful collective impact effort for Opportunity Youth: 1. Identify influential champions and forming a cross-sector group, 2. Scope and segment the population to define the problem, 3. Create urgency and making the case for change, and 4. Establish financial resources to launch the effort. Having these elements in place will not only help key stakeholders understand the urgency of the problem, but will catalyze a coalition of actors—including youth, mayors and other public officials, employers, K-12 and postsecondary education leaders, nonprofit service providers, private funders, child welfare and juvenile justice leaders, and others—to engage in the effort over time. Once a community has built the foundation for a collective impact approach and gained initial momentum to address the challenge of its local Opportunity Youth, it is important to identify how a community is going to collectively make change. There are several key steps that help communities organize for impact, including: 1. Reach out to key community stakeholders, 2. Create a common agenda, 3. Identify shared measures, and 4. Develop a backbone organization for coordination and support. These steps ensure that communities will have the resources and the road map for identifying critical pathways for Opportunity Youth, and ultimately, improving their chances of leading productive lives" (p. 4-5). (Abstractor: Author)