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Opportunity Links Initiative Moves to Implementation

BY Kenji Treanor
Kenji Treanor
Kenji Treanor has worked at Irvine since 2004 and helps oversee Youth program gr
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| Oct 08, 2012

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.

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Irvine Board Approves $16.9 Million in Grants

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Oct 04, 2012

Irvine’s Board of Directors approved $16.9 million in grants at its quarterly meeting this week. Of the 31 grants approved, 10 are in the Arts, five in California Democracy, 14 in Youth, one in Special Initiatives, and one in Special Opportunities. I’d like to highlight some grants that we’re excited about:

Exploring Engagement Fund for Large Organizations – Our Arts program is supporting eight large-budget organizations to explore new ideas for engaging audiences as part of our Exploring Engagement Fund for Large Organizations. This is the second set of grants made under our new Arts program strategy (the first round of Exploring Engagement Fund grants was announced in June). The goal of the new strategy is to promote engagement in the arts for all Californians — the kind that embraces and advances the diverse ways that we experience the arts and that strengthens our ability to thrive together in a dynamic and complex social environment.

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Applying Linked Learning to Out-of-School Youth

BY Kenji Treanor
Kenji Treanor
Kenji Treanor has worked at Irvine since 2004 and helps oversee Youth program gr
User is currently offline
| Apr 23, 2012

I am very excited about our new Opportunity Links for Youth initiative. This initiative is extending our work with Linked Learning to out-of-school youth in pursuit of the overall goal of the Youth program — to increase the number of low-income youth in California who attain a postsecondary credential by the age of 25. Three dimensions of this initiative are particularly notable:

1. Keeping young people at the center as we extend our work

In all of the Youth’s program work, students are at the center of our thinking. How can we shape their learning experiences to achieve the highest possible outcomes? One essential element of the Linked Learning approach is to make education more engaging, so that students are motivated to stay in school. This was informed by listening to youth who had dropped out, and hearing that relevancy — learning that actually reflects students’ interests and aspirations — is key to maintaining motivation and connection to school. By advancing Linked Learning across high school districts in California, we believe that the majority of low-income youth who are still in school will remain on a path to high school graduation and success in college and a career. Keeping this youth-centered lens, and using the same principles of Linked Learning, the Youth program is now exploring how to support the aspirations of out-of-school youth age 18-24 through the Opportunity Links for Youth initiative.

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