Let's Seize this Opportunity and Keep the Focus on Disconnected Youth
By Kisha Bird
On Monday, the White House Council for Community Solutions held its final summit to culminate an 18-month process of bringing together myriad stakeholders in and outside the beltway to better understand the challenges facing youth ages 16 to 24 that are out of school and out of work. Across the country, there are 6.7 million "opportunity youth." The Council's aim has been to raise solutions to help reconnect these youth to education and jobs and the opportunity to realize their potential.
During Monday's summit, the Council released its final report, Community Solutions for Opportunity Youth, which provides recommendations for steps the federal government can and should take to continue elevating national awareness of the issues facing "opportunity youth," as well as a roadmap for implementing effective cross-agency policies and supporting community-level interventions. CLASP applauds the Council's important work and we are thrilled to see that many of its final recommendations include policies CLASP and the Campaign for Youth have long-advocated for, including: drive development of successful cross-sector community collaboratives, create shared national responsibility and accountability, engage youth as leaders in the solution and build more robust on-ramps to employment.
In 2008, the Campaign for Youth, a national coalition co-chaired by CLASP, released recommendations for a National Investment Strategy that focused on out-of-school and out-of-work youth ages16 to 24. Endorsed by over 250 organizations nationwide, the recommendations called for six primary strategies, driven by federal policy and designed to support local innovation, collaboration, and policy.