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

Our vision is two-fold, over the next ten years the OYP will work to ensure:

  1. Santa Clara County has a coherent education-to-career pathways system that seamlessly integrates support services and workforce opportunities with education, through which a young person can get what they need when they need it and quickly get back on track with their education to earn credentials and gain experience that matters in the knowledge economy.
  2. Santa Clara County youth that experience the foster or juvenile justice systems will achieve educational results on part with those of the general population of youth.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

By 2029, we will cut the rate of 18-24-year-olds without a diploma in half , and the freshman to sophomore persistence rate for Opportunity Youth at community college will reach parity with peers on more traditional path (as measured by a three-year rolling average in 2027, 2028, and 2029).

Two Year Goals: July 2019 – June 2021

During the first two years, the partnership will:

    • Build the capacity of the reengagement system
      • Create and pilot a common “front door” for reengagment – the Opportunity Center
      • Support differentiation among reengagement education providers, and clearly map the ecosystem
      • Build the capacity of reengagement educators and organizations to deliver high quality programs
      • Build the dual enrollment and career technical education infrastructure between reengagement education and postsecondary institutions
      • Align federal Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act resources to reengagement education
      • Develop a framework for integration of community based organizations and reengagement schools
    • Support development of shared measurement and frameworks for action for foster youth and justice-engaged youth to drive increased coordination across systems, schools, and CBOs
    • Develop meaningful engagement with the private sector and other “unusual suspects” (trade unions, business associations, etc.), including the identification of three anchor employers.

Guiding Principles

Every young person must complete a postsecondary credential – we believe that in Santa Clara County achieving self-sufficiency in adulthood is impossible without a meaningful postsecondary credential, and we commit to building a seamlessly interwoven sector that makes postsecondary success a reality for every Opportunity Youth no matter their starting point.

Embrace a pathways approach – we believe that Opportunity Youth need a deeply integrated and easy to navigate Career Pathways System, and we commit to employ the Career Pathways System framework in designing and implementing programs and services.

Collaborate for impact – we believe we can achieve far more for Opportunity Youth when we work in authentic partnership, and we commit to keeping partners informed and seeking win-wins solutions.

Lift up young leaders – we believe the stakeholders with the most to gain or lose, and with critical lived experience, must be at the table and participate in decision-making, and we commit to facilitating and supporting the growth and development of young leaders.

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, and we commit to generating data, working to make collective sense of the data, and creating a reliable and iterative process to use data to drive decisions.

Quality and transparency – we believe that Opportunity Youth deserve high-quality experiences in their journey through programs and systems and that as recipients of public and philanthropic resources it is incumbent upon us to operate with transparency of results, and we commit to leading by example and implementing the OYP Quality Standards and publicly reporting results.