Our Opportunity Links for Youth initiative is an effort to extend Linked Learning to reach out-of-school youth. I previously described Irvine’s intention and thinking behind the initiative’s design: exploring new collaborations among nonprofits, postsecondary institutions and employers that can reconnect out of school youth to college and career opportunities. I am pleased now to share an update about how our partners are moving forward.
From Planning to Implementation
In the first half of this year, the community based organizations in this initiative worked through an intensive planning process to design programs that will reconnect out of school youth to postsecondary education and work opportunities in the healthcare industry or digital media, arts and design fields. (Here’s a list of the Opportunity Links grantees.) These grantees received technical assistance from Jobs for the Future (JFF), an organization with expertise in education and workforce systems. Based on implementation plans created through this planning process, Irvine’s board approved new grants last week to support the launch of the programs as well as an on-going process for refinement of the program designs. All of the organizations will launch their programs by January 2013 with carefully identified out-of-school youth participants, and will work simultaneously to support those youth to complete the program while also recruiting new participants for subsequent program cycles.