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Boston OYC receives three-year national grant

Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative Named One of Seven Community Grantees to Receive a Total of $6 Million for Successful Youth Programs.

Jobs for the Future and the Aspen Institute award $6 million in grants for innovative programs making an impact with opportunity youth.

Boston, Massachusetts, May 8, 2015 – The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative, a cross-sector group convened by the Boston Opportunity Agenda and the Boston Private Industry Council, is one of seven community collaborative grantees to receive three-year grants of $240,000-$270,000 per year to dramatically improve education and employment outcomes for opportunity youth, including young men of color, in communities across the country. Opportunity Youth is a term used to describe the 6.7 million young people—between the ages of 16 to 24 in the United States—who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market.

The awards were made by Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Service (AFCS) in response to President Obama’s call to action in launching My Brother’s Keeper to promote successful outcomes for boys and men of color. Grant award recipients were selected after a rigorous and collaborative evaluation by JFF and AFCS. The grantees, representing a diverse portfolio of communities, are taking a cross-system, cross-sector approach towards improving outcomes for young people, with a particular focus on boys and men of color.

The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) is addressing a key gap in services for older opportunity youth in Boston who have a high school credential but are not in school or working. The OYC and X-Cel Education have launched a Connection Center where young people who fit this description can come for assistance in reengaging with their education and potential careers. Through the OYIF SIF, Boston will implement a postsecondary/career bridging strategy that offers these youth, at least 40 percent of whom are boys and men of color, supported transitions into postsecondary education and training. Navigation coaches will transition these young adults to and through postsecondary education and training, and ultimately, to the start of a career. This effort will align with and build upon a citywide campaign to help all Boston youth transition successfully to postsecondary education—allowing this campaign to reach a far more challenged population.

The Boston collective impact collaborative has selected four high-performing partner programs to provide the bridging program and navigation supports: Asian American Civic Association, College Bound Dorchester, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, and JVS. It also has MOUs with nine other institutions and organizations that have agreed to both refer to and accept referrals from the Connection Center. Boston has multiple strategies to achieve scale, including launching a collectively shared data tracking strategy, systemic changes to increase student support and connections at the community colleges, and expanding the number of programs that are using the Back on Track model.

These grants are funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) through its Social Innovation Fund (SIF). Launched by President Obama in 2009, the SIF tackles the difficult work of social change by applying innovative solutions that work, and making them work for more people. By embracing evidence-based strategies, the SIF is leading the way in guiding how government makes social change investments. In 2014 SIF grant competitions, CNCS prioritized “Traditionally Unserved and Underrepresented Geographic Areas and Populations” and “Presidential Initiatives to Expand Access to Opportunity,” awarding almost $18 million in grants to organizations that focused on My Brother’s Keeper priorities.

“The President has made investing in evidence-based interventions or “what works” a key priority of his Administration and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. We applaud Jobs for the Future and the Aspen Institute on its selection of Social Innovation Fund grantees that have a track record of measurable impact, and a plan to get results and create clear pathways to college and career for young people in greatest need,” said Michael Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for My Brother’s Keeper.

It is estimated that the 6.7 million opportunity youth cost our country $250 billion annually in lost revenue, earnings, and increased social services. JFF and AFCS have selected a total of seven communities to partner with in an effort to build education and career pathways for these unemployed or underemployed young people. The other six grantees are located in Hartford, CT; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; Santa Clara, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA.

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The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative is a group of stakeholders who have come together around creating stronger systems to serve opportunity youth in Boston, Massachusetts. First convened in 2013 by the Boston Private Industry Council and the Boston Opportunity Agenda, OYC members include local community-based organizations, the Boston Public Schools, philanthropy, city and state agencies, and postsecondary institutions. For more information, visit www.bostonopportunityyouth.org.

Jobs for the Future is a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure economic opportunity for all. We develop innovative career pathways and public policies, resulting in increased college readiness and success for students and a more skilled workforce for employers. For over 30 years, JFF has been a leader in building connections between education and work that expand opportunity and strengthen our economy. For more information, visit www.jff.org.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service and champions community solutions through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.