Youth, especially the 1 in 4 youth who are between 16 and 24 years old and do not have their high school diploma or have a high school diploma but are not in school and not working (Opportunity Youth), can either create economic liabilities or economic opportunities for themselves, taxpayers, and society as a whole.
Opportunity Youth in particular can face multiple hurdles including parenting, disabilities, mental and physical health problems, incarceration or criminal records, homelessness, food insecurity, domestic violence, etc. The decisions they make today have far-reaching consequences for both their adult livelihoods and our community. They are less likely to be employed, more likely to rely on government supports, more likely to be involved in criminal activity, and more likely to have poor health.
Transforming challenges into opportunities:
- There is a significant mismatch exists between the skills/credentials of workers and those required for jobs in high-demand sectors. –> Opportunity Youth represent a solution to future workforce needs.
- There is limited capacity to engage Opportunity Youth. –> Using a collective impact approach, Hartford is strengthening education, career, and social support systems to better serve Opportunity Youth.
- Few pathways and programs exist for Opportunity Youth. –> Hartford is coming together to provide improved access, connectivity, and navigation to services and programs that support Opportunity Youth and provide pathways to success.
The right mix of education, training, and supports can reverse negative outcomes and reconnect Opportunity Youth to pathways to success.