Opportunity Youth Collaborative

The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) is a cross-sector committee focused on building pathways to education, employment, and economic independence for Opportunity Youth — 16 to 24-year-olds who aren’t in school and aren’t working. The OYC works to identify education and employment pathways, connect stakeholders, and effect systems and policy change for this population, both at the local and state levels.

The OYC first came together in the spring of 2013, taking on a group of youth that had never been targeted so intentionally in Boston: disconnected high school graduates. Collectively, our focus is on both college and workforce pathways, as they are the two routes that lead to economic prosperity. The OYC engages key institutional leaders in addressing the needs of these young adults.

Members of the group include more than 80 partners, including the Boston Public Schools, local community-based organizations, philanthropy, city and state agencies, and postsecondary institutions. The group is co-convened by the PIC and the Boston Opportunity Agenda.

As a collaborative, the OYC has developed recommendations for incoming governors, mayors, and superintendents (linked below). For the 2021 Mayoral election, the OYC partnered with Teen Empowerment on a candidates’ forum. Young people have always been part of developing recommendations and sharing them with policymakers, as the OYC values the lived experience and leadership of youth and young adults.

A current OYC project is Data for Impact, funded by the Aspen Institute with a grant from the Ballmer Foundation. Under this initiative, the OYC is working with the data and institutional research teams at the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) to increase BPS and BHCC data tracking capacity in order to identify the BPS students and graduates most at risk of dropping out of either high school or college.

For more information, contact Kathy Hamilton, Youth Transitions Director.


The Data

The Opportunity Youth Forum Common Measures are a set of four metrics to assess the overall opportunity youth disconnection rate, and the disconnection rates for high school, post-secondary and workforce annually at the population level using the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The Common Measures provide a unique annual look into our community’s opportunity youth data and help to track progress and inform strategies.