In 2014, Kids in Common (KIC), committed to engage and monitor the progress of 100 former foster youth, justice-engaged youth, homeless youth and pregnant/parenting youth who are disengaged from education and work. Over the course of a year, at least eighty of the participating youth will show measurable progress in one or more of the following areas: completion of secondary credential, enrolling in post-secondary education, completion of post-secondary education, successful employment along a career pathway, and/or progress towards self-sufficiency. KIC aims to work with 35 community partners to promote the alignment and integration of services that target OY in the county.
Leading partners will include the Silicon Valley Children's Fund (SVCF), Teen Force, Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Court and Legal Advocates for Children and Youth. SVCF will lead the development and participate in a shared measurement system and lead the development and implementation of several new OY strategies that include: 1) A formal, common assessment that includes a review of academic needs, youth strengths, and career interests-ultimately supporting youth to find their 'spark;' 2) The creation and implementation of an OY Individual Pathway Plan for secondary and/or postsecondary completion and career-track employment; and 3) A system to assign a Pathway Navigator/Mentor to each OY. TeenForce will lead the work related to the identification and recruitment of 15 'OY Employers' who are committed to hiring 50 OY in the first year of the implementation period. The Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Court will serve as a referral source for OY, as well as institute new policies to support OY education and employment success. Legal Advocates for Children and Youth will provide leadership in managing systems and policy change as issues are identified.
July - September 2014:
Identify and develop MOU with five partner agencies.
Design data collection strategies across partners including indicators and unique identifiers.
Develop formal common assessment, training program and format for Individual Pathway Plan for OY.
Develop employer recruitment strategy.
October - December 2014:
Train partners in data collection system and begin data collection.
Recruit at least 10 youth for initial entry into data system and to test common assessment, training, etc.
Identify and 'sign up' at least 5 OY Employers.
January - February 2015
Add 40 OY to program and data collection system.
Add 5 OY employers to cohort.
Ongoing data collection
April - June 2015
Add 50 OY to program and data collection system.
Add five OY Employers to cohort.
Ongoing data collection and reporting.
In Santa Clara County , there are as many as 23,000 Opportunity Youth (OY) - youth who are not working and not engaged in school - each costing up to ,000 per year in lost revenue, earnings, and services. Santa Clara County's OY include 2,433 students who dropped out of high school in 2013 and 21,100 youth ages 18 - 24 without a high school credential. Due to the 2008 recession, there were 38,000 fewer youth, ages 14 - 24, employed in 2011 than in 2001, and those jobs still have not returned in 2014.
In Santa Clara County, OY also include young people who are justice -involved, homeless, gang-engaged or those who quietly have unrealized dreams and live in poverty. The term 'Opportunity Youth' recognizes their social and economic value to the community and the desire of youth themselves to succeed in education and obtain gainful employment. By strengthening the pathways to education and employment for OY, Santa Clara County will benefit from a skilled workforce pipeline for local business and industry, strengthening the economy and community.
Kids in Common (KIC) leads the Santa Clara County Children's Agenda, a county-wide, data-driven collaborative initiative which strives to create a community where every child is safe, healthy, and successful in learning and in life. In 2013 KIC was selected as the local coordinating body for the Aspen Institute-funded Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund Initiative. As part of this initiative, KIC has committed to leading the effort to create a transparent opportunity pipeline for young people who are currently left out of the institutions that constitute the main route to opportunity for the Santa Clara County community. Through this effort, the county can expect measurable results in the area of increased employment and improved education outcomes for OY.
KIC would like to continue the shared measurement system since the dollars received from the County of Santa Clara County were for two years only. KIC needs to seek an additional $100, 000 to $190,000 annually to continue this. KIC has received dollars from the Aspen Institute and the Social Innovation Fund to support other aspects of the commitment's Opportunity Youth work.