Reconnecting Youth

Fortifying Pathways to Quality Education and Thriving Careers

In the United States, more than 5 million young people between 16 and 24 years of age are unemployed, not in college, and have not obtained a high school diploma. This unrealized potential stunts generational progress, with rippling effects. In 2015, capitalizing on the momentum of the Opportunity Youth movement, attendees in the Reconnecting Youth Working Group will expand innovation and best practices across sectors to better identify, engage, and redirect these young people.

2015 Subtopics

Workforce Connections

Improving access to employment opportunities is paramount to supporting more youth in living self-sufficiently. Attendees will determine strategies for creating hiring programs and employer-led trainings that develop marketable skills and provide direct links to in-demand careers for youth.

Postsecondary Pathways

Closing the skills gap and attaining employable skills hinges on the creation of new avenues that lead to relevant postsecondary credentials. Attendees will explore ways to leverage innovative service, work-based training, and secondary education opportunities.

Collaborative Community Support

A variety of actors provide support services to reconnect youth to academic and career opportunities within communities, yet interventions are rarely coordinated between organizations. Attendees will explore cross-sector partnerships that better align support services within communities to increase and improve engagement with Opportunity Youth.

Innovative Commitments

Small Business Work Pathways for Opportunity Youth

By: Small Business Majority Foundation
Partners: The Rockefeller Foundation; Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Department of Labor; Rose Community Foundation; Blue Leopard Capital; Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber; Intertech Plastics, Inc.; Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance; Goodbee & Associates; Youth Policy Institute; Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board; Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board; Springfield Job Corps

In 2014, Small Business Majority Foundation and its partners committed to study the issue of youth employment and engage small business owners in the effort to increase pathways for the country’s under-employed youth. Small Business Majority Foundation will conduct focus groups with small business owners and use its outreach efforts to find 100 small businesses able to offer memberships, internships, and innovative hiring and training programs.

Bridging the Gap: Connecting Opportunity Youth to Technology

By: Foundation
Partners: Year Up; Genesys Works; Girls Who Code

In 2014, the Foundation and its partners committed to scale and expand its youth mentoring and internship programs by expanding existing partnerships, initiating new partnerships, and educating other businesses on the benefits of youth engagement. The Foundation will expand its partnership with Year Up and Genesys Works to provide job training to Opportunity Youth, and will scale and expand its mentoring and workforce development program BizAcademy.

Creating a Pathway to Success for Youth in Foster Care

By: Nashville Public Schools (MNPS); Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS); PENCIL Foundation
In 2014, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) committed to partner with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and the PENCIL Foundation to expand education, training, and employment pathways for foster youth. MNPS, DCS, and PENCIL will work collaboratively to identify, recruit, and serve an estimated 69 foster youth in the MNPS system over a three-year period, and develop meaningful relationships between them and local businesses.

Bridging the Opportunity Divide for Youth

By: MDC Partners, Inc.; Year Up
In 2014, MDC Partners committed to partner with Year Up to work in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions to provide 25 young people with paid, six-month internships that will offer practical work experience and prepare them for the workforce. In addition, Year Up’s training focus areas align with areas of skill shortage within the MDC network.

Voices from the Meeting

Megan Kashner
Founder and CEO

Megan Kashner, a participant in the 2014 Reconnecting Youth Working Group, explains how one time support provided to low-income individuals at crucial times can lead to positive change that lasts. Read her story.

Featured Past Participants

Casey Family Programs
City Year
Ernst & Young
Gap Inc.
Gateway to College National Network
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
New York City Department of Probation
Opportunity Nation
Roca, Inc.
Symantec Corporation
The Forum for Youth Investment
The Rockefeller Foundation
The Skillman Foundation