Career Pathways for Boston's Opportunity Youth

May 2019

Quotes from Youth Focus Group ParticipantsFor too many young people, the transition from high school to college or a career poses significant challenges. In Boston alone, nearly 5,000 16- to 24-year-olds are not in school or employed. This group, known as Opportunity Youth, represents incredible untapped promise and potential.

Our latest report takes an in-depth look at what career pathways exist for Opportunity Youth by going straight to the source. We held a series of focus groups with Boston youth to gain insight into the educational experiences and career opportunities available across the city. Because they are disconnected from school and employment, their voices are rarely part of the discussion when it comes to setting policy and practice around education and workforce development. Our goal is to uncover factors that contribute to young people’s alienation from school and employment by listening to their individual stories and elevating their voices by quoting their words throughout this report.

Understanding the landscape of career options for Opportunity Youth also requires hearing from those with a more systemic view. So we spoke with a range of service providers and experts in the field to understand the complicated terrain of services and supports that these young people must navigate to connect with educational and career pathways.

This report is the latest in a series of research through our partnership with the Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative. This includes 2017’s Opportunity Youth: College Success, which explores policies to improve college graduation rates for opportunity youth, 2016’s Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline, which looks at inequities in school discipline and dropout rates, and 2014’s Creating Pathways to Success for Opportunity Youth, which examines high school equivalency (HSE)-plus programs designed to provide a combination of academic and wrap-around support services.

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