The Opportunity Index shows us that when young adults do well, communities are more likely to do well. As a result, Opportunity Nation and our diverse coalition developed a set of concrete solutions to jumpstart the American Dream for teens and young adults: The Shared Plan.
The initiatives in the Shared Plan are intended to spark action by elected officials, community leaders, the private sector and individuals. The Plan identifies policies, programs, funding and legislation that are designed to:
Ensure more students graduate from high school
We support multiple pathways to high school and postsecondary completion, including: increasing access to dropout recovery programs; dual enrollment programs which enable high school students to earn college credit; flexible scheduling for working and teen parents; and the expansion of hands-on and competency-based learning. Learn more about our policy proposals.
Help more students gain valuable career and technical skills
We support the overhaul of the outdated federal Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTE); increased collaboration among high schools, higher education and employers to improve such programs; and the expansion of high-quality CTE programs through competitive funding. Learn more about our CTE proposals.
Make it easier for low-income students and their families to plan and save for college and other types of post-secondary education
Research shows that low-income students with a college savings account in their name are six times more likely to enroll in post-secondary education. We support the bipartisan American Dream Accounts Act that would create such programs paired with financial education for low-income families. Learn more about the American Dream Accounts Act.
Encourage closer collaboration among schools and employers
To ensure that young Americans gain valuable job skills in high school and through post-secondary training and education, we support innovative partnerships with business that are designed to provide students with skills, technical expertise and mentoring through internships and paid jobs.
We advocate the expansion of promising collaborations between employers and schools such as P-TECH in which students earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in six years.
We support federal funding that requires schools to work more closely with local employers to develop curricula and programs that meet both rigorous academic and career performance measures. Learn more about our Workforce Investment Act proposals.
Boost mentoring, particularly for children and young adults who are at risk of falling off track
Research shows that the presence of a caring adult in the life of a child or young adult is often the difference between falling off track or pursuing an education and a career. Yet 16 million young people, including 9 million at-risk youth, will reach age 19 without ever having a mentor. We support the expansion of high-quality mentoring programs and support efforts by our partners iMentor and United Way to dramatically increase the number of mentors that serve youth in high-need schools and neighborhoods.
Identify the best programs that are increasing opportunity and reward them with expansion and/or increased funding
Opportunity Nation supports Pay-for-Performance models that reward the most effective programs with increased or continued funding. We believe this model could also help to leverage private-sector support for effective programs with proven results. Learn more about our legislative priorities.