CLASP's youth policy work aims to advance policy and practice that will dramatically improve the education, employment, and life outcomes for youth in communities of high youth distress. Learn more>>

Pathways to Reconnection for Disconnected Youth

We advocate for federal policies that meet the education and training needs of the millions of young people ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school and employment.  Read more>>

Building the Capacity of Communities

We work with communities to identify and highlight effective cross-system approaches that can provide opportunities for youth to complete their education, enter the labor market and improve their life outcomes. Read more>>

Supports and Strategies for Youth of Color 

We highlight the depth of the disadvantaged and disconnected youth problem for young people of color in some of the nation's most challenged communities and propose strategic solutions. Read more>>

Nov 20, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

Our Youth, Our Economy, Our Future: A Road Map for Investing in the Nation’s Talent Pipeline

As a nation, we face a set of challenges that we can no longer ignore. The economic future of our country depends on the next generation of young Americans becoming ready for college, work, and life.   However, many of our young people are reaching young adulthood without the skills and competencies they need to succeed. Millions of youth are being left behind, disconnected from the societal and economic mainstreams, and falling into harm’s way. 

  • An estimated 6.7 million young people ages 16 to 24 are unattached to school or work.
  • Youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 face an unemployment rate more than twice the overall unemployment rate.
  • By 2018, 60 percent of all U.S. jobs will require some level of postsecondary education.

While we have made considerable progress in raising awareness about these issues and the young people behind these statistics who are too often forgotten, we still have much work to do.  Far too many youth and young adults remain idle and disconnected from economic opportunity. This is a complex problem that requires thoughtful solutions, and our goal should be to increase the number of youth who are connected to school and work. 

The Campaign for Youth recently updated Our Youth, Our Economy, Our Future: A Road Map for Investing in the Nation’s Talent, Pipeline, an investment strategy that offers a set of recommendations to help national, state, and local public and private stakeholders identify and invest in solutions –and leverage current philanthropic and federal resources, including the recently enacted Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The strategy offers seven overarching ways to bring these recommendations to reality:

  1. Make reconnecting our youth a national priority.
  2. Invest in high-need communities.
  3. Involve young people in finding solutions for their own generation.
  4. Build capacity to utilize research-based practices and knowledge to expand high-quality programming. 
  5. Create pathways to financial independence and social mobility.
  6. Develop work-based learning opportunities that are relevant to careers and have real world applications.  
  7. Create a policy and research infrastructure to ensure program quality and accountability.

Solutions are within reach but require strong public support, public and private investment, an active nonprofit sector, enabling government policies, and the collective knowledge of the youth development field.

Read our Road Map for Investing in the Nation’s Talent Pipeline.

Sign on in support of the Road Map to connect youth and young adults to education, work, and opportunity!

About the Campaign for Youth: In 2002, the leadership of national youth-serving and policy organizations established the Campaign for Youth to build a united voice for disadvantaged youth. Our mission is to lift up strategies that help young people who are out of work, out of school, and out of the mainstream reconnect and succeed. For information about Campaign for Youth, contact

"Investing in Boys and Young Men of Color: The Promise and Opportunity"

This briefing highlighted effective practices and policies that can close the gaps in education, employment, and health outcomes for boys and young men of color.

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