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Connecticut Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth

March 27, 2015

Pathways to Postsecondary Opportunities are the range of options created across education institutions, training providers, and community-based organizations so that each and every young person can access the necessary and personally relevant credentials, skills, and training beyond the completion of a secondary credential that will propel him/her to long-term economic success and self-sufficiency. With support, the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) documented pathways to postsecondary opportunities in the state of Connecticut for the most vulnerable youth with a special focus on those involved in the juvenile justice system. Through the reporting, it is the hope that Connecticut's policymakers, advocates, and others will feel a renewed sense of focus and urgency to acknowledge and invest in this population with a deeper understanding of the options and challenges. In this report, AYPF will present a portrait of the population and the barriers they face. From conversations and site visits, the reporters provide a portrait of common evidence-based practices and structures contributing to the development of pathways to postsecondary opportunity. The concluding sections articulate the role of state policy to continue to build and sustain pathways to postsecondary opportunities for these young people. The following charts are appended: (1) Opportunity Youth Details; and (2) Potential Barriers Details.

Pathways to Success for Michigan's Opportunity Youth

March 27, 2015

Each young person must navigate his/her own pathway into and through postsecondary education and the workforce to long-term success personalized to his/her own unique needs and desires. The pathway to long-term success is often articulated as a straight road through K-12 education into postsecondary education (either academic or technical training) and then into a job, yet this is not the reality for many. A range of barriers, obstacles, and realities of everyday life often turn a young person off this straight line trajectory. Thus, it is necessary to create a system of a variety of on-ramps allowing young people to re-enter education and/or employment training to create their own pathway to long-term success. With support, the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) investigated and documented pathways into postsecondary education and the workforce for older, vulnerable youth in Michigan with the goal of providing information to create a more robust dialogue amongst key state-level stakeholders. This report showcases several pathways to postsecondary education and the workforce for Opportunity Youth as a road to long-term success. The following charts are appended: (1) Opportunity Youth Details; and (2) Potential Barriers Details.

Supporting Opportunity Youth on Postsecondary Pathways: Lessons from Two States

March 1, 2015

Out of 38.9 million Americans who fall into the 16-24 age range, approximately 6.7 million are Opportunity Youth--youth neither in school nor working--who face more pronounced barriers to success. This report shows how programs and policies in two states, Connecticut and Michigan, are responding to the need for postsecondary pathways, especially for this most vulnerable population. American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) defined Opportunity Youth and their needs in both states, and surveyed the landscape of programs and policies that connect them to postsecondary opportunities. Interviews with local service providers, state agency staff, advocacy organizations, non-profits, and others provide documentation of the range of supports available to Opportunity Youth. AYPF's study of Opportunity Youth in Connecticut and Michigan provides the basis for recommendations of proven methods and structures shown to help youth fulfill their potential at a postsecondary level.

Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care, An AYPF Policy Brief

December 1, 2014

What happens to youth in foster care when they turn 18? Many face unprecedented challenges like homelessness, lack of financial resources, difficulty accessing educational opportunities, and unemployment. In this issue brief, The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) document these challenges and opportunities in three distinct yet overlapping areas of need: (1) Sustainable Social Capital; (2) Permanency Supports; and (3) Postsecondary Opportunities. For each area of need, the authors define the challenges youth face and identify promising programs and policies that are in place to help them transition from foster care to a healthy, successful adult life.

Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth

January 1, 2012

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) conducted a series of in-depth case studies to examine how three programs which serve a disconnected youth population are utilizing data as a tool for continuous program improvement and ongoing accountability. The resulting publication, Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth, describes data collection and use at three successful programs, and distills the key lessons learned and issues to consider both for practitioners and policymakers aiming to improve outcomes for the disconnected youth population.

Key Considerations for Serving Disconnected Youth, July 2011

July 1, 2011

This paper provides a description of the youth population that is disconnected from education and the workforce and describes a set of key considerations for improving outcomes for this population. Programmatic examples that demonstrate how effective supports for youth look in practice are discussed. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for serving youth at the federal, state and local levels

Whatever it Takes: How Twelve Communities are Reconnecting Out-of-School Youth

July 1, 2006

Whatever It Takes: How Twelve Communities Are Reconnecting Out-Of-School Youth documents what committed educators, policymakers, and community leaders across the country are doing to reconnect out-of-school youth to the social and economic mainstream. It provides background on the serious high school dropout problem and describes in-depth what twelve communities are doing to reconnect dropouts to education and employment training. It also includes descriptions of major national program models serving out-of-school youth.