Media Highlights

8 Central Ideas That Will Strengthen and Broaden Pathways of Opportunity For Young Adults

by Mark Edwards   •  

Last week at our Summit, Opportunity Nation activated The Shared Plan of action to ensure that young adults aged 16 – 24 are connected to school and work so that they are in the pipeline to a career.

This plan is the collective product of many voices: listening sessions with young people all across America who spoke about their lives and the communities they live in; meetings with the Opportunity Nation coalition (250+ strong) about what’s already working on the ground; conversations with Democratic and Republican legislators; and a dialogue with the Opportunity Nation policy council that includes scholars from the Heritage FoundationCenter for American Progress, and the Brookings Institution.

The Shared Plan focuses on 8 central ideas:

  1. Increasing the number of innovative pathways to high school and beyond, including accelerated learning programs, earn-and-learn programs, and dual enrollment programs
  2. Reauthorization of the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to support career and technical education (CTE) as one important pathway among many for all young adults
  3. Incentivizing innovation within CTE with a competitive grant program
  4. Rewarding existing programs that connect young adults to school and careers that are results driven, collaborative, and are producing economically quantifiable results
  5. Mentoring as a critical link to help young adults succeed
  6. Support for Youth Opportunity Grants that bring entire systems together to support pathways for young adults
  7. The development of an online web portal to augment guidance counselors to provide students with a dashboard for their educational progress
  8. Engaging employers as collaborative members of the team to get young adults in the pipeline. The White House Council for Community Solutions Employer Toolkit is an innovative, online platform for employers to assess their preparedness to support young adults in their workplace

Combined, these ideas will strengthen and broaden pathways to opportunity for young adults in this country – and in doing so, will increase opportunity for all of us.

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards is the founder and co-chair of Opportunity Nation. Read Mark's bio.

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