The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) is made up of 80 different partners, including local community-based organizations, the Boston Public Schools, philanthropy, city and state agencies, and postsecondary institutions. We first came together in the spring of 2013, co-convened by the Boston Opportunity Agenda (BOA) and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) through funding from the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund.
Through a year-long planning process in 2013, the OYC designed potential pathways for three segments of Boston’s 11,000 opportunity youth:
- 16-19 year old dropouts,
- 20-24 year olds who don’t have a high school credential, and
- 20-24 year olds who do have a credential.
We found that, thanks to a decade of robust work in high school dropout prevention and recovery, the city’s opportunity youth population skews heavily toward 20-24 year olds who already have a high school degree – they outnumber dropouts nearly 2.5 to 1. While recognizing the importance of continuing to advocate for dropouts and younger youth, the OYC prioritized serving the larger group of 20-24 year olds who have a high school diploma.
Vision & Plans
The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative will:
- Reconnect young adults (16-24) to education and employment pathways (both existing and new)
- Use innovative solutions to fill gaps and better connect stakeholders in the system that currently serves opportunity youth, and
- Strengthen our proven collaborative efforts to effect systems and policy changes at the local and state levels.
Our pathway building blocks for opportunity youth include four types of programming and systems work: college completion, HiSET (formerly GED) preparation and college bridging help, occupational skills training, and dropout prevention and recovery advocacy.
Who are opportunity youth?
Opportunity youth are 16-24 year olds who are not in school or working. Opportunity youth include:
- Unemployed youth who are not in school;
- Enrolled dropouts – students who are enrolled in high school, but are not attending class regularly and are not progressing;
- Youth who are enrolled in college part-time and are not employed; and
- Youth who are not enrolled in school and are only working part-time.