Report: Learning from the Youth Opportunity Experience: Building delivery capacity in distressed communities



EQUITY, participation


PRACTITIONER:group practice and professional learning


Harris, L.


2006, 9/3/2009


Center for Law and Social Policy


In 2000, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded significant Youth Opportunity (YO) Grants to 36 high-poverty urban, rural, and Native American communities. The grants were designed to serve all young people in these areas, regardless of income or connection to school or work. The YO grants provided the resources to establish comprehensive approaches at considerable scale. They were catalytic in launching important collaborations in these communities to connect systems, to leverage resources, and to develop and implement comprehensive strategies for reaching these young people and redirecting their paths.Communities were required to assess and integrate existing youth-serving systems and agencies to support education, work exposure, youth development, and other services for young people. Despite evidence of considerable community accomplishments, the YO grants were ended in 2005. This report, based on a survey of 22 of the 36 sites, examines the approaches’ strengths, challenges, and lessons learned, and offers recommendations for policy and practice.


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