OYP’s Foundation

Problem Definition

In Santa Clara County there are more than 15,000 Opportunity Youth  – youth and young adults disconnected from the critical systems and experiences of education and employment that lead to self-sufficiency.  These youth and young adults are disconnected from the incredible wealth of opportunities available in Silicon Valley. This is particularly true for the Opportunity Youth Partnership’s priority population: Opportunity Youth who have experienced the child welfare system, the justice system, homelessness, or who are pregnant/parenting.

The Opportunity Youth Partnership’s shared measurement system (bi-annual data collection in partnership with 11 CBOs, two reengagement education programs, and one city agency, contributing data on more than 3,000 youth over the past four years) has shown us that Opportunity Youth in our network are:

  • Disproportionately young people of color: 81% are Latino or African American;
  • At extremely high risk: nearly a quarter are homeless; and
  • Substantially under-educated: 41% of Opportunity Youth who completed a secondary credential did not even enroll in postsecondary education or training.

Drawing on national figures, we know only 1% of Opportunity Youth will earn an associates or bachelor’s degree by the age of 28. These troubling statistics are true at the very moment earning a postsecondary credential is more closely tied to achieving a middle class income than at any time in American history. According to a report published by Pew Research Center, the typical high school graduate’s earnings fell by more than $3,000, from $31,384 in 1965 to $28,000 in 2013. By 2020 two out of every three jobs will require postsecondary education or training. Finally, since the end of the Great Recession 99% of new jobs have gone to those with at least some college.

Shared Vision

The Opportunity Youth Partnership envisions a Comprehensive Second Chance System that links stabilization and support services to a multitude of education to-career pathways necessary to support Opportunity Youth in moving toward durable self-sufficiency.

Common Agenda

Retool education and career pathways – support the emergence of a seamless set of education-to-career pathways, to ensure Opportunity Youth have many good options to earn a diploma in a well-supported environment, transition to postsecondary education or training, and find entry level career employment.

Implement and sustain shared measurement – employ a shared set of metrics, reporting tools, and timelines to establish goals that all partners commit to, and hold one another accountable to producing the results that matter most for young people.

Align and improve systems – move to an ecosystem of integrated pathways to prosperity by supporting greater integration of the CBO sector and public systems, and focus on unified outcomes.

Build the movement – build public will for tackling difficult social issues, and champion the work of collaboration and coordination on behalf of Opportunity Youth.

Guiding Principles

Collaborate for impact – we believe we can achieve far more for Opportunity Youth when we sincerely work together, and that young people deserve a whole greater than the sum of it parts.

Lift up youth voice – we believe the stakeholders with the most to gain or lose, Opportunity Youth, must be at the table for all deliberation and decision-making.

Use data to guide decisions – we believe that what gets measured gets done, and that data-driven decisions and accountability to results form the foundation for successful collaboration.

Embrace a pathways approach – we believe that Opportunity Youth need pathways not silos, and it is our duty to build the pathways that integrate supports, experiences, and education.

Focus on opportunities to align policy and systems – we believe that we must seek to help organizations, agencies, funding streams, and individuals align toward the same desired end state, so that all efforts are rowing in the same direction.