Talent for the Future

At a Glance

Juan left high school and became homeless. But he has skills and drive and found a Back on Track program to help him prepare for a career in IT. JFF helps employers leverage an untapped workforce of low-income young adults like Juan who can fill their talent gaps.






Areas of Work
  • Preparing for the Future of Work
  • Ensuring Equity in Advancement
  • Meeting Employer Needs
Experts Involved
In progress
  • RI
  • CT
  • LA
  • PA
  • CA
  • WA
  • NY
  • ME
  • NE

Low-income young adults are a fast-growing segment of our future workforce—but they face significant barriers in the labor market, especially as automation and technology reshape the economy. At the same time, they represent an untapped talent pool for employers seeking to fill skilled jobs. Career pathways designed for young adults can help employers tap into this talent pool.

How Our Work Is Unique

Pathways Tailored to the Individual

JFF’s solutions meet youth where they are and take them where they want to go. The young adults are in the driver’s seat, prepared to make informed choices about which pathway best meets their needs and aspirations. All of our pathways are designed to lead to a living wage.

Pathways Tailored to the Community

Our solutions are flexible and can be adapted to different contexts as well as the range of young adult populations facing barriers to advancement in the labor market. We work with key stakeholders in a community, including employers, system leaders, youth leaders, community-based organizations, schools, and postsecondary institutions, to develop a strategy to build out and scale up a coherent set of pathways.

Field-Building and Knowledge Development

We build the knowledge base around effective practice, elevating what works and scaling practices across networks of communities. We convene thought leaders and innovators around these efforts to share knowledge and spread best practices.

Back on Track Pathways

JFF’s Back on Track pathways contain specific components drawn from best practices, yet they are flexible enough to guide pathway development across a wide range of contexts. Each pathway is organized around distinct, supportive phases, delivered through partnerships, that help young adults develop the skills they need to move along a path to career advancement and economic mobility.

Back on Track: Postsecondary Success

This pathway helps youth and young adults prepare for and transition into degree-granting postsecondary programs of study.

Back on Track: CareerNext

This pathway helps young adults prepare for and transition into occupational training programs that lead to skilled jobs with advancement potential.

For more information about our models and services, contact Lili Allen, Associate Vice President, lallen@jff.org.