$350,000 grant will help prepare Maricopa County disconnected youth for careers
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$350,000 grant will help prepare disconnected youth for careers

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  • Tamela Franks/Opportunity for Youth

Finding Ways To Reconnect Disconnected Youth

Opportunities for Youth, a community collaborative with the goal of reducing the number of youth between 16 and 24 who are out of school and work, has been selected as a site for the Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth grant to implement the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Pilot.

The P3 grants are run through multiple Federal departments, including the Departments of Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development.

$350,000 grant will help prepare disconnected youth for careers DisconnectedYouth2This is only the second round of grants awarded since P3’s inception. Nine agencies were awarded grants in the first cohort. OFY is one of only a few selected in this second round.

The award will enable OFY in partnership with Hope College and Career Readiness Academy, Arizona@Work Youth Services (Maricopa County), TCI Solutions, Arizona Manufacturing Partnership, and CSM Learns to pilot the MAP, an accelerated six-month apprenticeship program that will train and connect more than 300 opportunity youth to careers in Arizona’s growing manufacturing sector over the next three years.

Upon graduating, the MAP graduates will earn a professional credential that will enable them to gain entry-level employment in the manufacturing sector.

The MAP utilizes a four-tiered approach combined with soft and technical skills training, on-the-job experience, and 12 months of follow up after graduation.

The 12-month follow-up will be led by career coach navigators who mentor and assist MAP youth in navigating work life balance and overcoming barriers to success.

Recruitment and registration for the first of three student cohorts will begin in October with classes starting in January.

About Opportunities for Youth

In 2012, the greater Phoenix area had the highest rate of opportunity youth among the 25 largest metropolitan cities in the United States (Measure of America, 2012). Maricopa County has come together to address this wicked challenge, and we are seeing the results.

In 2014, the greater Phoenix area Opportunity Youth rate remained high at 17.35% in 2013, but has since gradually decreased to 14.79% in 2014. This meant that 18,784 youth were no longer disconnected, producing a 2.56% difference within a year time frame (U.S. Census American Community Survey, 2013-2014).

Furthermore, the Morrison Institute (2015) found that each disconnected individual resulted in $755,900 in social losses, with an aggregate lifetime social loss of $218.5 billion. The study also learned that $258,240 tax payer dollars was lost for every disconnected individual, with an aggregate tax payer burden of $27.3 billion. This equated to a grand total of $1,014,140 in social and fiscal loss per youth.

Additionally, $19 billion in economic savings was realized from the 18,784 youth who were no longer disconnected in 2013-2014. To address this challenge, Opportunities for Youth was developed, comprised of 46 cross-sector leaders, 4 action teams, and a full-time backbone staff.

VISION: All youth will be successful and on track in education, career, and life.

MISSION: We harness the power of cross-sector collaboration to create a comprehensive system of opportunity that re-engages our Valley’s disconnected youth.

DISTINCT VALUE: We connect, convene, and facilitate collaboration between entities who serve opportunity youth. We bring together people and organizations that have knowledge about how to reach and re-engage youth; we facilitate shared data to track youth re-engagement; we help set the public policy agenda related to opportunity youth; we build public awareness of youth issues and successes; and we bring resources for training of youth outreach workers and employers of youth together with those who need help.


  • Serve as the leading resource, convener, connector and advocate for organizations serving OY region-wide
  • Identify, promote, support, and accelerate programs and services by partner organizations serving OY.
  • Strengthen our collaborative and its partner organizations through distinct value-add services:
  • Data collection and dissemination
  • Awareness-building
  • Advocacy
  • Funding
  • Partnerships with related organizations: national, regional and statewide
  • Research and analyze best practices for replication and scalability and develop strategies to
  • Address gaps.
  • Incubate programs, services, and initiatives which add distinct benefit to partners and organizations to achieve collective impact goals.
  • Identify, measure, and evaluate performance of our short- and long-term impact on Opportunity Youth

To learn more about the structure of the initiative, please visit opp4youth.org.

For additional information, please contact: Tamela Franks, Executive Director of Opportunities for Youth at 602-506-2294 or Tamela.Franks@mcesa.maricopa.gov