Opportunity Links for Youth Initiative Print E-mail

Employing the principles of Linked Learning to advance college and career results for out-of-school youth.

Nearly half of California’s approximately 3 million low-income youth are no longer participating in formal education. Irvine is supporting community-based organizations to apply Linked Learning to help these young people reconnect, re-engage and realize their potential.

Out-of-school youth have reduced chances for postsecondary success and, therefore, poor prospects for living-wage employment — especially given that a full 75 percent of job openings require education and training beyond high school.

Opportunity Links for Youth Initiative

Irvine seeks to re-engage youth who are no longer in school, who are marginally or not employed, and who are actively seeking a way into college through community-based organizations. In its initial phases, our Opportunity Links for Youth Initiative concentrates on re-engaging out-of-school youth in the Bay Area and Los Angeles regions.

In 2010, we supported the expansion of the successful Year Up program for out-of-school youth in the Bay Area, and the development of Career Advancement Academies in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. In December 2011, we awarded planning grants to seven youth-serving community-based organizations to collaborate with postsecondary institutions and businesses to provide out-of-school youth with the four core elements of the Linked Learning approach: industry specific technical training; postsecondary academic coursework leading to a credential; real-world work experience; and comprehensive support services.

December 2011 Opportunity Links grantees include:

We are partnering with Jobs for the Future on this initiative. Jobs for the Future is providing support to all initiative grantees as they develop and implement their programs. Irvine’s work with out-of-school youth is informed by and coordinated with the work of the White House Council for Community Solutions. In January 2012, the White House Council released an Irvine-funded report that illuminates the opportunities and promise of reconnecting out-of-school youth to school and careers. A complementary report released by the White House Council shows that reconnecting these youth can have a trillion-dollar effect on the national economy. Review these reports to learn more about the urgency of reengaging out-of-school youth.