Jobs for the Future (JFF), in partnership with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF), will release a Request for Proposals in late October inviting communities using a collective impact approach to improve outcomes for opportunity youth– defined as 16-24 year old out-of-school, out-of-work young adults (with or without high school credentials)– to apply for funding to implement Back on Track pathways for these youth. By March 2015, JFF/Aspen will select up to twelve communities to receive between $175,000 and $300,000 per year over at least three years, with the potential for continuation funding for an additional two years; the grants will require a 1:1 philanthropic match at the local level.
This funding opportunity is made possible through a grant to JFF/Aspen from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a key White House initiative and program of the Corporation for National and Community Service. For more information on the Social Innovation Fund and how to get involved, visit http://nationalservice.gov/programs/social-innovation-fund.
In each site selected to participate in the JFF/Aspen SIF project, a high performing local organization will serve as the “backbone” organization for a cross-sector community collaborative committed to a collective impact approach that will expand pathways for opportunity youth. Over the three-five year project period, the local backbone organization and collaborative will plan and implement one or more targeted “Back on Track” interventions – reengagement and enriched academic preparation, or postsecondary bridging and career pathways supports.
This social innovation strategy will deeply engage local civic, community, and institutional leaders, private and public funders, opportunity youth themselves, and the organizations and systems that work most closely with them (including education, youth development, workforce development, health and human services, public care and custodial systems, as well as employers, industry groups, labor unions, and community organizations and training providers), in supporting the development of pathways that dramatically improve education and employment outcomes for this vastly underserved population.
In addition to funding, each selected site will receive comprehensive technical assistance from JFF and Aspen coaches and will participate in a national learning community through the duration of the grant. The technical assistance will include assistance in meeting the requirements of a rigorous third-party evaluation, which will be designed to build the body of strong evidence in support of interventions for opportunity youth, especially boys and men of color, in response to the call to action from the new national My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
JFF/Aspen are targeting communities with significant numbers of low-income opportunity youth, where there currently exists a structured collaborative of key stakeholders organized to improve outcomes for opportunity youth through catalyzing the adoption of effective approaches in education and career attainment leading to family sustaining careers. Only communities that meet these criteria will be eligible to apply.
In order to apply, potential applicants must first submit to JFF a Letter of Intent that indicates how they meet the eligibility criteria. Letters of Intent may be submitted to JFF at any time until November 7, 2014 (we strongly encourage early submission of a Letter of Intent). Letters of Intent must include the following:
– Name of the backbone organization submitting the Letter of Intent
– 3-4 data points that demonstrate that the community is low-income
– List of members of the collaborative
– 2-3 examples of efforts undertaken by the collaborative in the last year to improve education/career outcomes specifically for opportunity youth
JFF/Aspen will review each Letter of Intent and, within one week of receipt, notify the applicant as to whether it has met the eligibility criteria. Only communities that have submitted Letters of Intent by November 7 and have been assessed as meeting the eligibility criteria may submit a full proposal, which will be due December 20.
The full RFP will be posted on the websites of Jobs for the Future and the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions in late October. A bidder’s conference will be held on Wednesday, November 5, from 2-3:30 pm; information about how to register will be posted on the JFF and Aspen websites as well.