Our Work in the Field

Back on Track Designs

Reengaging Opportunity Youth

Reengaging youth and young adults who are off track to graduation, or disconnected from both education and work, and putting them on a path to postsecondary credentials.

Lili Allen
Associate Vice President, Reconnection Strategies and Designs
617.728.4446 x105
lallen@jff.org
@LiliAllen2

Our Work in the Field

Jobs for the Future works closely with districts, states, national youth-serving networks, and community colleges to identify, develop, and support Back on Track pathways for nontraditional students. The goal is to help ensure that students complete a postsecondary credential with value in the labor market. Our ongoing initiatives include:

  • Corridors of College Success: providing assistance to five communities both in the design and implementation of on-ramps and pathways to postsecondary credentials for vulnerable populations, and in the advocacy of policies that support and incentivize such pathways. Corridors of College Success, an initiative of the Ford Foundation, is a partnership of JFF and the Community College Research Center, the Data Quality Campaign, and Strive Together.
  • Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP): is a five-year, $24 million initiative that aims to help youth and young adults ages 14–25 — particularly those who have been involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, or who are homeless — succeed in school and at work by tailoring two evidence-based models, including JFF’s Back on Track model, to address their specific needs and challenges. Partially funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this effort also involves four national organizations — Jobs for the Future, Jobs for America’s Graduates, MDRC and School and Main Institute — and ten local partnerships. Of the ten local partnerships, five are implementing the Back on Track model: Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (Lincoln, NE), South Bay Community Services (San Diego, CA), University of Southern Maine (Portland, ME), Coalition for Responsible Community Development (Los Angeles, CA), and The Door (NYC, NY). 
  • Opportunity Works: This initiative helps communities expand career pathways that improve life prospects for opportunity youth—young people ages 16-24 who are disconnected from education and work. As a Social Innovation Fund grantee, Jobs for the Future and the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions support educators, employers, and youth development organizations in sustainable partnerships that reconnect young people, especially boys and men of color, and help them finish school, earn credentials, and find living-wage jobs. 
  • Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund: assisting this initiative of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions in supporting 20 communities that are taking a collective impact approach to building pathways to postsecondary credentials for opportunity youth. 
  • State and Federal Policy and Advocacy: ongoing engagement with state and federal policy organizations and agencies to support Back on Track models and student success.
More Back on Track Work

Jobs for the Future delivered instructional coaching for a network of Back on Track schools in Philadephia, serving the city's off-track and out-of-school youth population and providing capacity-building support to GED to College programs. Read more in Mobilizing a Cross-Sector Collaborative for Systemic Change.

Back on Track is part of JPMorgan Chase's New Skills at Work initiative. We will be assisting stakeholders in five major metropolitan areas to meet current and emerging needs of employers. This work involves creating pathways and bridges for young people and adults to credentials in high-demand occupations and industries. New Skills at Work works across the education-to-workforce pipeline, including a focus on building on-ramps for off-track and disconnected youth.