In case you missed our January Opportunity Youth Newsletter, it was a busy #OpportunityWeek December 3-7 with 11 events in five days, led by our partners at the Forum for Youth Investment, National League of Cities, National Youth Employment Coalition, Service Year Alliance, Center for Law and Social Policy, NRAEF, Opportunity Youth United and more.
The Opportunity Youth Network (OYN) Summit kicked off with a six-year progress report by Measure of America, with the latest data on opportunity youth tracking the network’s progress, including data on the disparities across race, place, and gender.
The “state of the field” plenary gave participants the chance to hear the most important developments that have occurred in each sector, and all participants were polled real-time to identify the most crucial areas of the opportunity youth field for all to collectively focus on this year.
Some big developments in the network include the Reconnecting Youth Campaign discussing how they secured $100 million increased federal funding for opportunity youth; Opportunity Youth United sharing their work to expand Community Action Teams across the country, and the Job Launch digital platform for connecting youth and employers.
Here is additional great collaborative progress made on multiple fronts during breakout sessions:
- During a session to align best practices for employers of opportunity youth with best practices for youth-serving organizations, participants surfaced a set of new examples and practices which will be incorporated into a corporate diagnostic tool for those identified as an opportunity youth employer of choice that will be released later this year.
- During a session aimed at making a plan to gather youth videos from every congressional district in the country, participants took a close look at how to do this in ways that are truly authentic.
- During a session on the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative, participants watched powerful videos of youth voices from around the globe and identified ways that having a global network could advance the field as a whole.
- During a session on mobilizing citizens to improve the economic well-being of opportunity youth, participants were inspired by the caliber and diversity of experts in the room, and will be incorporating their ideas into a guide being released in the next year.
- During a session that discussed programmatic solutions and a policy agenda to ensure national service programs are accessible to and meet the needs of opportunity youth, participants came up with a list of 60 must-haves to make an ideal national service program for opportunity youth, which will be incorporated into both a pilot program and a guide for advancing both programmatic and policy solutions.
- Finally, participants during the breakout session working to promote girls and women of color were moved by the quotes displayed around the room that were written by women of varied background and ethnicities. This led to deep discussions about intersectionality that will inform a fact sheet and toolkit that will be released later this year.