New Tool to Help Communities Align and Integrate Resources

Helping to reconnect youth back to education and employment and get them on a path to a successful transition to adulthood that includes economic self-sufficiency, skills that support independent living and improved health, mental health and well-being can be challenging. Youth development stakeholders and beneficiaries (i.e., the youth themselves) describe significant challenges that hinder meaningful improvements in education, employment, health and well-being outcomes.

Such challenges include: poor coordination across the systems that serve youth; policies that make it hard to engage the most vulnerable youth with services and resources to help them overcome personal barriers; fragmented data systems that inhibit the flow of information across systems to improve results; and administrative requirements that impede holistic approaches to serving youth; among other factors. Addressing these challenges requires services and expertise from multiple systems, including education, health and mental health, workforce development, job training, housing, social services, criminal justice, child welfare and other systems.

A new tool from JFF and the Forum for Youth Investment, “Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Program Implementation: A Tool for Community Reflection,” will help communities identify, align, and integrate resources so they can strengthen systems and partnerships to design high-impact programming for opportunity youth. It is designed to lead communities through a series of questions that should allow them to better determine when an innovative solution is needed to implement strategies that serve their goals.