Wednesday, June 27, 2012

White House Council for Community Solutions Releases Final Report

Earlier this month, the White House Council for Community Solutions released their final report, “Community Solutions for Opportunity Youth.” Recognizing that nearly one in six young people is currently disconnected from education and employment opportunities, this report highlights the strategies that can be implemented to engage youth and unlock the potential they have to make a difference in their own communities, as well as our economy and society at large.

Established in December 2010, the White House Council for Community Solutions was charged with the task of identifying innovative community initiatives that increase civic participation and address our nation’s most pressing challenges. The Council identified youth engagement – particularly the engagement of “disconnected youth” – as a way to spark build leadership, job skills and civic interest in our society. According to the report, the roughly 6.7 million youth that are disconnected from jobs and employment opportunities cost our nation approximately $93 billion in direct and indirect social costs. The Council acknowledges that these youth have untapped potential and refer to this population as “opportunity youth” – youth who, given tools, resources and opportunities, have the potential to be engaged, prosperous and successful adults.

Using research, case studies and interviews with youth and community stakeholders, the Council identified four strategies that can help communities unite and create collaborative that address key challenges and create system changes that provide rich opportunities for youth. These strategies include:

Driving the Development of More Cross-Sector Community Collaboratives
Providing opportunities for youth requires more than a single intervention. Connecting organizations, stakeholders and funders that have a shared vision can identify best practices, share resources that are needed to address the variety of needs and challenges youth face.

Creating Shared National Responsibility and Accountability for Opportunity Youth To help create shared responsibility for our nation’s youth, the Council recommends – among many things - that the federal government begin regularly collecting data on youth and create a leadership body that can coordinate national efforts to address youth issues.

Engaging Youth as Leaders in the Solution
When youth have an opportunity to shape programs and strategies, they are more likely to embrace them. Including youth as leaders also helps them build critical skills for the future.

Creating More Robust Pathways to Employment for Opportunity Youth
Creating more opportunities for youth to build important job skills, gain employment experience and receive an education that prepares them for the workforce is critical to their future success in the job market.

For more information about the White House Council for Community Solutions, please click here.

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