Keeping Youth Connected: Community Data to Create Change

July 05, 2011

CLASP's Keeping Youth Connected data profile project aids communities attempting to bring attention to their "discon­nected" youth population and put in place more sustained, systemic and comprehensive interventions to reconnect youth to education and work opportunities. CLASP has designed a set of tools and resources to assist community leaders, advocates and practitioners in making the case to secure the necessary support for needed interventions, and to benchmark and track progress on achieving positive outcomes for youth. 

To promote greater understanding of the scope of youth distress, CLASP analyzes data related to education, crime victimization, employment, and family stability. This map highlights 20 urban communities where some of the nation's largest school districts are located and that have high rates of child poverty and/or large minority groups. We invite you to explore these resources to learn about the myriad issues facing youth in these communities.


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Why communities?

Solutions to the disconnected youth problem rest in communities. Communities are best equipped to understand their youths' specific needs; therefore, we must increase community capacity to provide culturally competent services. Improving outcomes for vulnerable youth also requires communication and coordinated efforts among residents, community leaders, businesses, faith-based institutions, schools and other public systems.



Why focus on disconnected youth?
Disconnected youth are not in school or work, and it is a problem that we must address urgently if we are to break long-standing cycles of poverty, high unemployment and poor life outcomes. Certainly, we must work to prevent young people from becoming disconnected from school and the economic mainstream in the first place, but we also need sound policies in place to give young people who have dropped out of high school and aren't working the opportunity to reengage. Youth who are particularly at risk live in low-income, minority communities where high school dropout rates exceed 50 percent, youth unemployment is extremely high, youth violence is a persistent issue, and a significant portion of youth are connected to the criminal justice system.

Finding the Will: A Guidebook for Using Youth Distress Data to Promote Community Advocacy and Action

This guidebook is a companion document to the Keeping Youth Connected data profile series developed to assist communities that have high levels of youth distress. The data profile project aims to elevate discussions about this challenge and encourage the strategic actions necessary to improve outcomes for youth and the community. To access community data profile for your community select the community on the map above.

PowerPoint Presentation Template

This sample PowerPoint presentation can be customized for any area for which there is a community data profile, and can be used to build awareness of the challenges facing young people in your community and leverage opportunities to impact policy changes. To access an Excel workbook with charts specific to your community, please select the community on the map above.

Connect to CLASP's Online Resources for Improving Outcomes for Youth >>

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